Trinity lobbies for lost funding

Nov. 25, 2012 @ 07:43 PM

Trinity officials are gearing up to voice their concerns to legislatures over a large amount of funds that could greatly impact Trinity if taken away.
The Trinity City Council recently approved and adopted a resolution concerning the loss of “hold harmless” reimbursement funds. The funds are reimbursement funds that are the equivalent to the inventory tax that was once paid to municipalities but was lifted in 2002. The hold harmless fund reimbursements, established by the state to help cities cope with loss of revenue from the elimination of the inventory tax, expired in August.
The city stands to lose about $283,000 from its 2013-2014 budget. The loss would impact the city greatly because it uses 75 percent of the funds it receives to repay sewer debt.
“As of (last) week, the state does not have this included in their budget,” said City Manager Debbie Hinson. “If we lose $283,000, 75 percent of that will be what actually goes to our sewer bill. If they do not give it to us we have to come up with that money from somewhere.”
In 2002, the state legislature put a stop to the inventory tax in exchange for authorizing an additional local option sales tax for counties and cities. The legislation included a provision providing the transitional hold harmless payments to 121 other cities and 17 counties whose estimated revenue from the new sales tax was less than the value of their repealed reimbursements. The city has been receiving the transitional funds since 2002.
During the last legislative session, a bill to restore the payments passed by the N.C. House of Representatives, but the N.C. Senate failed to hear it. City officials are working with the local legislative delegation and the N.C. League of Municipalities to make the restoration a top priority when the legislature convenes in January.
“I have given information to the council so they can forward their requests to our representatives,” Hinson said. “I also have some copies for residents that would like to make contact with them and ask them to encourage the state to keep this in their 2013-2014 budget.”