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Harnett County Chairman Burgin having hard time on Tax Increase


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Harnett County Chairman Burgin having hard time on Tax Increase

 

In a Wral channel 5 interview Chairman Burgin stated that he supports a sales tax increase to tackle the problems that are facing the county when it comes to overcrowding in the school system. When asked by Wral reporter Mr. Burgin had this to say “County Commission Chairman Jim Burgin said he doesn’t support raising property taxes but thinks the sales tax is a fair approach.” http://www.wral.com/harnett-county-growth-puts-strain-on-schools/12704191/

 

Jim

In the last year Mr. Burgin has flipped flopped the question about taxes and has been on both sides, during his campaign and in his first term Mr. Burgin opposed any and all taxes increases of any kind. The following statements were made in The Daily Record:

Board of Commissioners Chair Jim Burgin said he also doubts the measure would pass. He said he is not in favor of it.

“I am against any new taxes,” Mr. Burgin said. (The Daily Record 05/19/13

Commissioner Burgin said he had continually worked to keep taxes low, to oppose any tax increases and to lower property taxes by 1 cent (The Daily Record 10/18/2012

With this back and forth of not supporting and then supporting it leaves many to wonder which one Mr. Burgin is for.

10 Responses “Harnett County Chairman Burgin having hard time on Tax Increase”

  1. Paul Long
    July 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    He stands for nothing but regressive backward policy

  2. Jaysen Yochim
    July 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    The fact is that the county does not have enough schools. A sales and use tax of .25 will put us on course to support our kids as long as the money is dedicated to school construction. This measure will result in the local county tax being equal to Cumberland and Lee Counties, as well as many other neighboring counties. I would say 99% of the citizens of Harnett County did not realize they were paying a .25 higher sales tax when they are buying goods in Fayetteville.

    I would ask anyone opposed to a sale and use tax to come up with a better solution that ensures everyone pays an equal share. Contrary to popular belief and what had previously been believed, there is no pot of money for Fort Bragg to give to Harnett County to build schools. The county must come up with a county solution to provide a quality education to all the counties homeowners.

    I hope Chairman Burgin has come to realize that there are no other solutions and the county must act to address the school situation. I for one applaud his open-mindedness and willingness to support the children of Harnett County.

  3. Harnett Native
    July 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    The possible sales tax increase, while a help, doesn’t begin to cover the building needs of the county. I fear that if it does pass many will believe that that will take care of the problem. We will have one more school but very little relief in the long run. Also, while the western end of the county is in dire need, the most overcrowded school is Harnett Central Middle at 140% of capacity.

    • Jaysen Yochim
      July 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Overhills Elementary School (OES) is at 176% capacity. A new middle school is being built that will take some pressure off of the other Middle Schools but even it will not handle the growth we know is coming. More are students are still coming to the west and OES zone will gain another 100-200 students next school year if they are consistent with the growth of previous years. The zone will be over 200% capacity by the time a school is built if we start this fall.

      A sales tax will not fix everything but it is movement in the right direction. If we can attract retail business to the HWY 87 corridor the county can recapitalize some of the millions of dollars in sales tax currently being lost to Cumberland and Lee Counties.

      Not acting will make the problem worse, it is not going away.

      • Harnett Native
        July 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

        I’m not trying to be picky here Jaysen, but isn’t it the OES district that is at 176% of capacity, not the school itself? The school enrollment itself is capped isn’t it? My point about HCMS is not to take away from then needs in the Western area of the county but to point out that it isn’t JUST a western area problem. The citizens of the entire county need to work to correct the overcrowding problem. HCMS needs relief as well. At one time there was discussion about building a middle school off of 27 west of Lillington. This would have helped relieve HCMS, WHMS, and OMS but that seems to have been pushed to the sideline. Remember it will not be long before those elementary children are middle school children.

        • Jaysen Yochim
          July 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm

          You are correct, the OES zone is at 176% capacity but it has been mitigated by a number of students being sent 20 miles away to Boone Trail. They chose to not rezone all school zones to balance the needs which I feel should have happened but what’s done is done. Even with shipping the kids 20 miles away, OES will still be well over capacity.

          OES will continue to grow with just Anderson Creek and Lexington Plantation (where I live) building a total of 7,000 units which statistically adds almost 5,000 school age kids (all grades). It may be lower if the statistics don’t hold up over time but it is still A LOT of kids.

          The county needs a lot of new schools and some of the older schools in the east are in desperate need of renovation. The school board has a laundry list of priorities and needs, it has limited funding to bring it to fruition.

          The most immediate need is an elementary school in the west but it won’t be long before a new high school will be needed. We know the middle schools are overcrowded but the new middle school being built should allow some redistribution, but it will probably be at capacity when the doors open.

          The important thing it the whole county coming together to take care of all the kids, east and west. This sales tax is supported by both parties and all the county commissioners. We need to come together and start the improvement of our school system. As some have said, this .25 sales tax won’t fix everything but it is a start.

          • Harnett Native
            July 29, 2013 at 9:27 am

            What people are going to have to resolve themselves to is that there are really only two choices here. The first choice is to hold pat on the property tax rate. If that is the way we go, and it seems to be what a majority want, overcrowding will become unbearable. Go back and look at the problems at WHHS and WHMS in the years just prior to the opening of Overhills Middle and High. The second option is a significant increase in the property tax rate. No one wants to pay more, but it is the only route to fixing the problem. Even then the problems of overcrowding will be felt as we try to catch up.

            Shifting district lines and reopening Shawtown and Boone Trail will have a marginal positive affect and might prove to not be cost efficient.

            These are difficult problems but they have to be addressed. We can not continue to kick the can down the road.

  4. Jaysen Yochim
    July 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I personally don’t think Shawtown or the old Boone trail will have any effect and will be a waste of money because it doesn’t address the issue. I have heard the board in the past say, “we don’t have an elementary school overcrowding issue but it is where the schools are located”. Renovating schools that don’t fix the problem will just waste the counties money.

    It’s kind of like the decision to fix an old car versus buying a new one. It may make sense to spend thousands of dollars to replace the engine on an old sedan but it if you have a family of 8 is the sedan really fulfilling your needs in the first place. It would probably make more sense to take that money and invest in a vehicle the fits your family’s needs.

    If the investment doesn’t fix your base issue it is wasted money. The base issue is that we have unsupported growth in the west. Why would we invest in the north and east to address a problem in the west?

    I understand and respect trying to look outside the box for solutions but any solution needs to address the base issue. We have had unprecedented growth with more coming; we need a plan to add thousands, not hundreds of seats.

    • Harnett Native
      July 30, 2013 at 2:39 am

      I generally agree with you. However if you will take a look at a map of school district lines you will see that the Lillington/Shawtown Elementary and thus the Harnett Central Middle and High zone isn’t just northern and central. It extends west beyond Bunnlevel all the way up to the McLean Chapel Road area, and all the way up 27 to within a couple of miles of WHHS.

      People all over the county need to understand that they have a stake in this. Everyone regardless of where they live in the county need to work together to solve the problem. Trying to remedy the HCMS overcrowding problem (140% of capacity)needs to go hand in hand with the problems in the Overhills, WH, Highlands issues. It will show those living north of the Cape Fear that they are affected as well.

      Chairman Burgin in the past has tried to divide the county, even going so far as to say that there should be a special school tax in Western Harnett and that we should consider manufactured housing for the new schools. The renovation and reopening of BT and ST proposal seems to be right along that same line of thinking.

      Property taxes = the elephant in the room. We have to start talking about it.

      • Jaysen Yochim
        July 30, 2013 at 10:15 am

        It is definitely a county wide problem and I’ve looked at all the zone lines until my eyes feel like they are going to bleed. My kids will bus through Overhills, Johnsonville, Highland, Benhaven, and obviously Boone Trail school zones to get to school, so I’ve looked clearly at the school zones I fell should have shifted. I’m not as familiar with the middle school zones but I know they will all shift when the new middle school opens.

        I have to trust that the school board is setting the appropriate priorities. I also need to hope that the county is starting to take more of a holistic and proactive approach at community planning. The fact that Lexington Plantation was approved without a logistical support plan was a bad oversight. This train wreck should have been addressed years ago through a community planning process but all we can do now is look forward, not back, for the common goal of a quality education.

        For the record, Chairman Burgin was not the one who brought up the reopening of the old schools but I think the individual who did bring it up was just looking for alternatives. Chairman Burgin has been very supportive of our efforts, as have the rest of the commissioners from both parties.

        If you’re not a member of “Building a Better Harnett” on Facebook please join. We are a small but active group and we will need help in the center and east to get the vote out in support of the sales tax.

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