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
Billhunter300x300 b&w

The Rise of "No-Click Search Results"

Bill Hunter - Wilmington Design Company
Rob20beale2 311791810

Linking Parenting & Leadership from One Generation to the Next

Rob Beale - W.M. Jordan Company
Jim ellis headshot 10311631058

Facebook Ads: What’s Changing

Jim Ellis - Signal

Trending News

New Firm Chooses Dutch Square Industrial Park Space For Headquarters

Cece Nunn - May 23, 2018

Live Oak Bank Launches Franchise Restaurant Lending Vertical

Jenny Callison - May 23, 2018

COO Of Wilmington Realtors' Group Hired As CEO Of San Antonio Association

Cece Nunn - May 23, 2018

Work To Begin Soon On Permanent Campus For Girls Leadership Academy Of Wilmington

Cece Nunn - May 24, 2018

Marina Grill Launches Riverfront Music Series

Jessica Maurer - May 23, 2018

In The Current Issue

Student Loan Debt Still A Concern

It might come as a surprise, but one of the hottest topics at an annual convention of bankruptcy attorneys was student loan debt. There are...


Novant Health Facilities Now Carry Naloxone

Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center now carries naloxone, a medication used to temporarily reverse opioid overdose....


Addressing The Area’s Food Deserts

“If we can find a model that works, we would like to replicate what we can in other parts of Wilmington or the region,” said Scott Whisnant,...

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

2018 Power Breakfast: The Main Event
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes