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Stokes County residents demand higher taxes to help with much-needed services

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Several Stokes County residents stood before county commissioners Monday night, demanding to pay higher taxes to help offset costs for much-needed services like EMS, funding for schools and the county animal shelter.

“The citizens of this county are demanding that the bullet be bitten and taxes be raised,” said resident Darlene Dill.

“Whatever it takes to make that happen in turn, needs to occur even if it means raising taxes,” said resident Rebecca Gibson. “These services are more important to me than a tax increase.”

Residents started an online petition last week at Change.org, which already has more than 300 signatures.

“It’s time for a change,” said resident Dwayne Young. “At some point, you have to pay up.”

People living in Stokes County pay 62 cents per $100,000 in property taxes.

If passed, the new budget would raise it 2 cents, along with a 1 cent increase for a fire tax.

This year, Stokes County has taken some big hits to EMS and to its animal shelter.

In April, the county passed emergency funding to help make up for an extreme shortage of EMS workers.

In mid-June, the county also decided to stop taking in strays and animal surrenders at the animal shelter to help cut costs.

But some spoke out against an increase.

“People don’t move to Stokes County for higher taxes,” said resident Amos Elvis.

“It violates justice to tax one’s property for the benefit or need of another,” said resident E.A. Timm.

County commissioners have until June 30 to approve a new budget.