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Energy & Environment

In Outer Banks Town, Fight Against Beach Erosion Could Raise Taxes

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Seth Youngblood
/
Via Flickr
Dare County might raise property taxes to help pay for an $11 million beach re-nourishment project in the unincorporated Outer Banks town of Avon.

Property owners in the Outer Banks town of Avon could see their taxes go up to help pay for the cost of fighting beach erosion.

The Dare County Board of Commissioners will consider a plan to raise property taxes in the unincorporated town to cover part of the cost of an $11 million beach re-nourishment project.

Dare County Manager Bobby Outten has been authorized to work out a proposal for splitting Avon into two tax service districts. Properties closer to the ocean could see a tax of 25-cents on every $100 in assessed value. For properties farther inland the tax would be 5-cents on every $100.

In this era of rising sea levels, Outten says re-nourishing beaches has been generally accepted by communities throughout the Outer Banks.

“The only reason there's a Dare County is because we have beaches, there's no other reason to be here,” Outten said. “We don't have any agriculture. We don't have any industry."

In the era of climate change, eroding beaches has been a pressing issue for North Carolina's coastal communities. Outten says towns from Duck to Buxton have paid to replace sand along beaches eroded by wind, water and heavy storms.

Outten says beach re-nourishment is generally accepted in his community but not everyone agrees on how to pay for it.

“No one wants to be taxed any more than we want to tax them,” he said.

The county must hold a public hearing before the new tax scheme could be implemented.

Copyright 2021 North Carolina Public Radio