Local News

Survey Starts Debate About Tax Burden in Wilson

Posted April 28, 1999

— How did Wilson end up at the top of the list for tax burdens in our state? That is what city leaders would like to know.

According to theJohn Locke Foundationsurvey, people inWilsonpay nearly triple the taxes that people inGoldsboropay. Both towns are about the same size and only a few miles apart.

"We really seriously question the comparisons that they have drawn in that report," said Wilson City Manager Ed Wyatt.

Property taxes are actually two cents lower in Wilson, but the foundation says it calculated the total tax burden by figuring up how much a resident has to pay in fees and charges.

According to audit reports for both towns, fees and services are relatively similar, with a few exceptions.

First, Wilson buys its power and gas from suppliers, then re-sells it to residents. In Goldsboro, people buy it directly from the source.

Wilson residents pay the town about $100 million a year, while Goldsboro residents send their checks to the power companies.

Wilson leaders say that makes it appear that Wilson residents are paying more to the town for the same services, when that is not the case.

Wilson also has more industries using city utilities than many towns, and they say that could have inflated the taxes, too. What they would like to do is ask the foundation how they put the numbers together.

"We don't understand the method they used to get it together. We don't understand where their details came from. We have some concern where their sources came from," said Wyatt.

The foundation says it stands by its report. They have started a debate that could go back and forth for years.

Goldsboro's leaders are also skeptical about the report even though it cast them in a better light. They say they work hard to keep taxes low, and they are glad to be recognized for it.

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