Polk to creat special revenue fund for property transfer tax

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

The county recently got an opinion from David Lawrence, with the N.C. Institute of Government clarifying whether the county must designate on an annual basis the revenue to farmland preservation. Lawrence said the county could, at the time the tax is levied, specify that the tax will be used for farmland preservation. Lawrence also said the county can set up a special revenue fund for the proceeds, which would mean any money leftover each year would be rolled back into the special fund, instead of being absorbed into the county&squo;s general fund.

Commissioners all individually stated their positions on using the money for farmland preservation, with each member saying as long as they serve on the board the money will be used to preserve farmland. Other commissioner candidates have also said they would use the money to preserve farmland, although they weren&squo;t allowed Monday to state their positions because of the political nature of the request.

If the referendum is approved, the county would use the money to purchase development rights to farms, which would ensure that the farmland would only be used for farmland and not sold to be developed.

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Bill Britton on Monday said the county needs to be specific that the land transfer tax will not be just a tax for land sales. Britton said the tax should be referred to as a real estate tax.

Judy Heinrich responded that the county agricultural advisory committee has always been up front about what the tax is and it is referred to as the land transfer tax because that is the state&squo;s term for it.