Leland leaders thinking outside the box on the budget - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Leland leaders thinking outside the box on the budget

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LELAND, NC (WECT) – A potential change in Leland's financial plan could cause the town to miss out on more than half a million dollars of potential income. However, it's all part of a long term growth plan to draw in more business and attract new development.

Town Manager David Hollis presented the budget last week, announcing a new plan to reduce building permit fees to just $1.

He says a drastic decrease in inspection fees is the first step in enticing developers to come to town.  

Hollis estimated the total inspection fee for one house is $3,000 right now.

Based on last year's numbers, the cut in fees means that Leland would likely miss out on approximately $600,000 if the proposal is accepted.  

Hollis says he is confident the town will eventually see a return in revenue from new developers taking advantage of the potential incentive.  

"We've got a lot of vacant land outside town limits," said Hollis. "If they're going to develop that property we want to be able to provide this incentive so they'll say 'Hey we want to be a part of Leland.  If we are, we basically get these services for free.'"

By giving businesses those incentives, Hollis says the town will attract developers to voluntary annex their property to Leland.

Ultimately, the town would profit from property taxes, sales and use taxes, and franchise taxes. The "big three" are projected to gross nearly $8,000,000 next year.

"We are a corporation.  Just like every other corporation, we need to find new revenue streams," said Hollis. "One way to generate revenue streams is for the entire town to grow."

However, the decrease in fees could force the town to delay several on-going projects. Hollis estimates it would take six years to recover the money lost in inspection fees.

But if new stores are coming to Leland, shoppers like Sabrina Harrison love the idea.

"I think it's great," said Harrison. "Bringing in more businesses will draw more customers and maybe businesses can keep their prices lower."

The proposal received lots of interest from town council but has not been approved yet.  A public hearing on the budget is set for June 3rd.

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