Special Service Tax District (SSTD)
The LGA has
received many questions concerning our position on the proposed Special
Service Tax Districts (SSTD) for
Gaston (a special use tax district strictly for the control of aquatic
In 2004, after
revisiting the results of our then-recent member survey, the LGA took a
position to support the SSTD funding proposal by the Weed Control Council
because it was clear at that time we were running out of options for
obtaining necessary funding to get this problem under control.
We have updated that
position, and invite you to review the results of a member survey conducted
in February 2006.
Funding "Solutions" to the control of Hydrilla
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW
Question: What is a Special
Service Tax District (SSTD)
One of several ways to
refer to it, a SSTD is basically a specifically designated geographical area
(district) within a county's jurisdiction or boundary lines, created for a
specific purpose. Special service or "use" districts are one option available
to North Carolina county governments (not so in Virginia) for the purpose of
collecting funds and directing expenses to a specific area for a specific need.
The revenue in & the expenses out of the SSTD are not to be mixed with the
"general" funds of the county.
This particular SSTD for Lake Gaston property owners in
NC is intended, if approved, for the sole purpose of weed elimination in Lake
Question: Who is affected by
this Special Service Tax District (SSTD)
It is intended for
everyone to see a positive affect by the results of this tax if
approved, including those who do not own lakefront property; but those who stand to gain the most monitarily would be property
owners on and around Lake Gaston. Therefore, it is possible that counties would only impose
this tax on
Lake Gaston property owners within the SSTD, meaning those who have direct
access to the lake (waterfront property owners) or those having direct access
through their homeowner association’s community access lot.
Question: Where do we stand
Currently, all three
counties are receptive to this proposed solution. Northampton County has taken the
lead and has progressed the farthest with the concept, and will be holding a
County Manager's Meeting for the public on June 16, and a public hearing on June
Question: How much will this
This would be a local tax,
recalculated annually, and currently (June 10) only Northampton has determined
what this tax would be based on the currently projected needs. For Northampton
property owners in this district and under this proposal, a maximum of 6 cents
per $100 of the evaluated taxable amount ($60 per $100,000 ) would be applied,
or $180 for $300,000 assessed value of property.
Question? Why do we need a
special tax district for noxious weed control?
Only through adequate funding can we effectively treat the whole lake by using
all approved chemical and biological means. Present funding is less than
half of the amount needed. The Special Tax District(s) should, if implemented,
provide the additional needed funds, eliminating the need for private
treatment. Our goal is to gain effective control of noxious weeds and
reduce costs to a maintenance level. The result will be an improved safety,
recreation and fisheries environment. This could take from three to five years
after all Counties have increased funding. This effective control will help
maintain or improve property values.
Question? How are these
funds used and who is accountable?
Funds generated from these District(s) will be allocated to the Lake Gaston Weed
Control Council (LGWCC). Funds will be used exclusively for noxious weed
control in Lake Gaston with funds first being used to treat all waterfront
properties in the county supplying the funds. These funds will be used as
needed to acquire matching fund grants from public or private sources.
The LGWCC is accountable to each
county that provides the funds. A budget has to be prepared each year that
compares the previous year’s results. A proposed budget for the upcoming year
must be prepared recommending the funds needed for that year. All sources of
funding, such as grants and unused previous years funds, will be utilized in
preparing the budget.
The LGWCC, the Counties,
individuals and organizations must continue to seek out additional sources of
funding. This funding will reduce the amount needed from Lake Gaston property
As with any non-profit corporation
also operating as a public body, the LGWCC must comply with all rules for budget
submission, yearly audits and other requirements as provided by Statute and/or
Question? Don’t we already
pay a “subsidy” through higher evaluation of our property?
All citizens of any
given county pay the same number of cents per hundred dollars of fair market
value plus any special assessments. Lake Gaston
carries a much higher fair market value than off shore or other property in the
county. This higher evaluation is related to the water quality of Lake Gaston.
maintain and increase value of lake property we will need to pay a
special service tax for treating noxious weeds. This could be called a
“subsidy”; however, as lake front property owners we stand to gain or lose the
most from control, or lack thereof, of noxious weeds.
Question: Why don’t other
lake users have to pay?
Others do pay
indirectly. Virginia Beach
taxpayers/water users pay ($200,000+) into the control fund each year. The
state of North Carolina has a “dollar for dollar” matching funds grant (up to
$200,000) based on available funds from the counties. This is taken from
statewide taxes. The State of
Virginia has not been contributing.
Virginia taxpayers should encourage their elected representatives to rectify
The taxes paid to the counties for
noxious weed control would be a tax deduction for those who itemize. Federal
taxes would be reduced, thus some indirect Federal funding. The cost of private
treatment is not deductible.
Individuals, organizations and the
Counties should continue to seek out additional sources of funding such as the
Army Corp of Engineers, State of Virginia, special license fees, and other
private or public grants.
Question: How can we voice
our support for or against this tax?
While the LGA Board supports this
option, IT IS YOU, the taxpayer who can make it happen. Each of the three North
Carolina counties are in different stages of consideration, and each will hold a
public hearing on the proposed SSTD for their county before it ever gets
Your county commissioners need to
know how you feel. So contact your commissioner's directly, and/or contact one
of the LGWCC members below.
Northampton Public Hearing:
June 21, 2004 @ 1:30 pm, Commissioners’ Meeting Room.
Question: Where can I get
You are invited to send
questions & inquiries to the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council members:
Boyd Strain, Secretary
John Slaton, Treasurer
The Lake Gaston Association will
be happy to answer your questions as well: