ASHEVILLE – Gaining support for a ballot initiative for a quarter of a cent sales tax increase was among issues local leaders tackled Monday.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce President Aaron Nelson rallied political support and discussed outreach strategies for communicating the Orange County tax increase, which could generate about $2.2 million annually.
The meeting was an unscheduled addition to the 2010 Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s Inter-City Visit. The conference, which drew more than 70 local leaders and continues through this afternoon, brings town, county and University officials together once every two years for the opportunity to work together on economic development issues.
If the sales tax is passed in November’s elections, 15 percent of the revenue would go toward libraries and emergency services, 42.5 percent would go to economic development and the remaining 42.5 percent would go toward the school system.
The increase would raise the current tax rate from 7.75 percent to 8 percent. The rise would not affect food or pharmaceuticals.
“The chamber believes it’s time to invest in economic development, and this will help raise the funds we need to do that,” Nelson said.
Nelson is developing a steering committee to determine how to inspire support for the increase.
In small groups during their visit, leaders discussed priorities and obstacles to economic development, their shared vision and ways to make those visions realities.
“How do we preserve our essence and move economic development forward in Orange County?” Chapel Hill town manager Roger Stancil said, kicking off the conference’s first brainstorming session.