Cleveland County voters will decide whether to raise the sales tax this fall

A proposed sales tax increase will be on the November ballot, and if approved, the funds raised will benefit local schools.

Cleveland County residents will have the opportunity to vote for or against the sales tax referendum on Nov. 8. If passed, the sales tax would drop from 6.75% to 7%. This would equal an additional $0.25 on a $100 purchase.

“One of your strategic goals was to continue to partner with Cleveland County Schools in an effort to increase teacher supplements and develop a long-term school capital improvement plan,” Kerri said. Melton, deputy county manager, at last week’s meeting of county commissioners. “This council has continued to be forward-thinking. You realize that school capital is a significant portion of the county budget and you want to continue this momentum of planning for the future and planning ahead. »

Melton said the average age of schools in Cleveland County is 50, and schools are expensive to build.

“The school board and commissioners came together for a joint meeting in August and what we really saw was the first phase of the long-term capital improvement plan,” she said.

The first phase included a facility assessment.

“What came out of the meeting was a need to identify $150 million in construction projects that need to happen long-term in Cleveland County schools,” Melton said.

The next step in the capital improvement plan involves the two councils working together to develop an execution strategy for funding projects that need to be completed.

“Article 46 is one of those opportunities that we have to prepare for the future and help fund the projects that are identified,” she said. “While minimally invasive to taxpayers or our residents, it will generate $3 million in revenue that would be used for school capital.”

Sales and use tax does not apply to commonly purchased items, such as groceries, gasoline, prescription drugs and cars.

Melton said an additional quarter percent sales tax would generate twice as much revenue as a penny added to the property tax rate.

County staff pointed out that property taxes were not being raised.

Sales tax generates revenue from visitors, in addition to residents.

Four of the five neighboring counties have already passed Section 46.

“When our residents shop in one of these counties, they are helping to improve these communities instead of helping our community,” Melton said.

She said the county and school system are focused on spreading the message and educating the public by reaching out to county PTO organizations, asking principals to share with students, launching a campaign about social networks and by being present during the early vote and on election day.

An example of what the sales tax will look like on the ballot is posted on the Cleveland County Government website. A sales and use tax tab is also located on the homepage, which people can click to get more information.

Sallie R. Loera