Print
Government

Wilmington Chamber Pushing For State Beach Fund

By Vince Winkel, posted Feb 10, 2017
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce is all in when it comes to forming a new state beach nourishment fund.
 
In his February email to chamber members this week, chamber board of directors chairman Charlie Mattox said “the Chamber, BASE, and other area stakeholders will be pushing for the creation of a sustainable statewide funding source for beaches this legislative session.”
 
In 2016, the General Assembly funded several studies of beaches, including who owns property there and the economic impact.
 
Those studies concluded that the creation of a state-dedicated beach nourishment fund is justified and that the fund should have a $25 million minimum, the chamber email stated.
 
The question now is where will all the money come from.
 
“It’s a priority, it is key for the state and region,” said Tyler Newman, president and CEO of Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE) in Wilmington. “I would think legislators would be receptive to it.”
 
The study listed possible options for generating funds, Mattox said in his email.
 
One plan would be through a single source, such as a new 0.5 percent seasonal state sales tax, which would generate $25 million, or a new state property tax on property owned by non-state residents, which will generate $26.4 million.
 
Also on the table is combining sources, such as a new 1 percent state meals tax, which would generate $15.1 million, and an additional land transfer fee, which would generate $10 million.
 
Another suggestion is a reallocation of 50 percent of existing state sales tax collections revenues from short-term lodging sales, which would result in $25.2 million.
 
The revenues generated by each potential funding source are only the revenues generated in the eight coastal counties, Mattox said. If a new state tax were to be implemented statewide, only that portion generated in the coastal counties would be deposited into the beach preservation fund, under the options.

“While we’re just scratching the surface of the Plan, it contains a host of information that strengthens our case for dedicated state investment in beach nourishment,” said Cape Fear Realtors governmental affairs chair Stephen Hobbs.

“Traditionally we think of roads and bridges as infrastructure. In North Carolina, beaches are infrastructure, and based on this Plan, they generate $2.5 billion in direct expenditures. When the multiplier effect is considered, this equals a whopping $6.1 billion in annual impact to the state,” said Hobbs.

In 2015, Cape Fear Realtors began the Coalition for NC Beaches in an effort to partner with others that understood that beach nourishment, or coastal storm damage reduction, is a critical economic development factor in the state.
 
Rep. Ted Davis Jr., R-Wilmington, told the Business Journal in January that he expects beach funding to come up in the 2017 session, and he plans to support money for both beach nourishment and shallow inlet dredging “because I know the significant financial impact that tourism and recreation have in New Hanover County.”
 
“The legislature will need to come up with a permanent sustainable funding mechanism so necessary renourishment and dredging projects can be conducted,” he said last month.
 
The 2016 study found that the economic impact from North Carolina's beaches is, as expected, huge. It reported that there was a $1.66 billion direct impact and $4.74 billion indirect impact, with 48,718 jobs.
 
Mattox said the chamber is in the process of forming a committee to focus solely on this issue.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Cityclub

City Club Membership: Good For Business (And Pleasure)

Jonathan Weiss - City Club of Wilmington, LLC
Adamshay 300x300

Leadership Lessons From The Battleship

Adam Shay - Adam Shay CPA, PLLC
Mike stonestreet 300x300

For Association Boards, CAI Membership has its Privileges

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)

Trending News

After 40 Years, Air Wilmington Could Have New Owner

Christina Haley O'Neal - Feb 19, 2018

Pollution Concerns Slow National Gypsum Incentives Discussion

Cece Nunn and Christina Haley O'Neal - Feb 19, 2018

In The Current Issue

Security Systems Service Expanding To Wilmington

One of the largest security guard services in the U.S. is expanding its operation to Wilmington....


Info Junkie: Cameron Moore

Info Junkie Cameron Moore, executive officer of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association, shares his tech and app picks....


Made: Powering Up Across Industries

Power cord manufacturer Feller LLC in Leland was founded in the U.S. in 1984....

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with John Gizdic, CEO, New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Wilmington's Most Intriguing People of 2017
2017 Health Care Heroes