In a joint meeting on Thursday, the Wayne County Board of Education and Wayne County Board of Commissioners have approved 40 school projects that will be completed over the next five years if a 1/4 cent sales and use tax is approved by voters during the March 3 primary election.
“Today’s historical announcement will assure citizens of Wayne County that all funds generated by the proposed 1/4¢ sales tax increase will be used solely to address the school district’s needs for new school construction, classroom additions, renovations or campus updates, and safety and security upgrades,” states Don Christopher West, Wayne County Board of Education Chair. “This referendum has bi-partisan support and has been designed in such a way that Wayne County citizens can see exactly how monies from this small sales tax increase will be spent and what a tremendous impact it will have on our schools and communities moving forward.”
The Wayne County Finance Department estimates, based on current sales tax figures, that the one fourth of a penny sales and use tax would generate approximately $2.6 million annually. The funds will position Wayne County to borrow approximately $32 million needed to complete the 40 approved school projects.
Wayne County Board of Commissioner Chairman, E. Ray Mayo, states this funding stream will be invaluable in helping to immediately begin addressing some of the school district’s more critical facility needs.
“It is a positive day in Wayne County when these two boards can come together for the future of our children. Though the need is great, and this is only the beginning, we are proud to begin the necessary steps towards construction, improvements, and most importantly safety for our public schools,” adds Mayo.
To help citizens become more informed, the school district has launched an Informational Website (www.waynecountyschools.org/salestax.aspx) which includes an Interactive Map of School Projects, a Breakdown of School Projects & Estimated Costs, and a FAQ about the proposed 1/4¢ sales tax. In the coming weeks artistic renderings of school projects and other resources will be added to the site.
As part of the district’s awareness campaign, dates will soon be announced about a series of community meetings to be held in each school feeder pattern. The meetings, which will provide information about the school projects and the proposed 1/4¢ sales tax, will be open to the public. Additionally, district and county leaders will continue meeting with Boards of local municipalities. At this time, the Town of Fremont and Town of Mount Olive have passed resolutions in support of the 1/4¢ sales tax.