At its regular business meeting Tuesday, St. James Town Council adopted a resolution that requests the N.C. General Assembly establish a “Prepared Meal Tax” of one-half percent and dedicate the funds to the uses prescribed in House Bill 17, a food tax for beach renourishment.
Neighboring Southport and Oak Island have requested that state legislators allow them to levy a half-cent food tax and to have it specifically directed to beach renourishment in the case of Oak Island and for waterfront stability in Southport.
“This is not something that the Town of St. James is doing, but they have asked us if we would support their request to legislature. We want to let them know we support these other two municipalities,” said St. James Mayor Jean Toner. “We feel this is very important to them because the feds have reduced the amount of money they’ve received.”
Residents of St. James benefit from the coastal infrastructure of their neighbors. These communities bear seasonal burdens from visitors from other regions of the state and nation. St. James Plantation also has an oceanfront St. James By the Sea private beach club on Oak Island for its residents.
“Since we obviously have a location on the beach, we’ve benefited from that and we spend a lot of time in Southport. This is something we wish to consider, to support our neighbors,” said Toner. “Basically, you’ll pay an extra 50 cents on a $100 food bill if you go out to eat in Southport.”
The HB-17 resolution was approved unanimously by the council.