LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Voters in Davidson County said yes to higher taxes on Tuesday, approving a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax to pay for a new high school in northern Davidson County.
According to complete but unofficial returns, 56.6 percent of the voters who cast ballots approved the tax increase, with 43.4 percent opposed.
In numbers, that’s 8,851 votes in favor and 6,798 votes opposed, among nearly 16,000 ballots cast. Turnout in Davidson County was 15.4 percent.
The tax increase will go into effect Sept. 1, and will mean customers will pay 7 percent sales tax rather than 6.75 percent on purchases.
“It is good news not just for the folks of northern Davidson County but for the whole county,” said Burr Sullivan, a supporter of the tax hike. Sullivan is president and chief executive of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce.
“When you support something like this you never know how it is going to come out,” Sullivan said. “It is a good move that will benefit the children of Davidson County for a long, long time.”
The tax is intended to raise about $2.3 million annually and allow the county to finance the construction of the new high school.
The new school, to be built in the northern part of the county, would relieve overcrowding at North Davidson and Ledford high schools.
The vote came after a well-financed campaign by the group Davidson County Strong for Education, which supported the sales tax increase as the best way to pay for the new school.
Advocates said that school needs in other parts of the county could be met from the money that would be freed up by the dedicated tax revenue. The county has three school systems – a county system and school systems in Lexington and Thomasville. The new school would be in the county system.
Opponents had said that the tax would put Davidson County merchants at a competitive disadvantage with other counties that have a lower sales-tax rate.