Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, announced he will file a bill this evening that would allow the city not to charge Monkey Junction residents for city taxes for the six months the area was legally annexed into Wilmington city limits. Goolsby made the announcement today at the city's annual legislative agenda meeting held at City Hall. Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, is expected to coordinate the bill in the NC House of Representatives if approved by the Senate.
An initial legal opinion from the Wilmington City Attorney's Office found that the state constitution would prohibit the city from exempting Monkey Junction property owners from paying city taxes for that six-month period. However, Goolsby was able to find an alternative after being approached by the city. If passed by the General Assembly, the bill would essentially prohibit cities from charging city taxes for properties that aren't inside the city limits for at least six months.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said, "We don't want to bill these Monkey Junction residents for such a short time and for such limited city operational costs if at all possible - it doesn't seem fair with all the uncertainty surrounding this situation. Sen. Goolsby has been very helpful in finding what we hope will be a solution supported by the full General Assembly. We very much appreciate the support of our local delegation and look forward to resolving this situation as soon as possible," said Saffo.
About 1,000 acres of the Monkey Junction area was annexed into the city in January, 2012 after a court ruling found that changes the General Assembly made to annexation laws were unconstitutional. However, that ruling was followed by further action by the General Assembly in the summer of 2012 that requires cities to get approval from a majority of property owners before involuntary annexations can go forward. That law became effective in July, 2012 and the city chose not to further pursue the Monkey Junction annexation.
Thus, the Monkey Junction area was officially part of the city from January to July, 2012, or about six months. According to city projections, tax revenue from the area is estimated at approximately $100,000 for that six-month period. No tax bills have been sent.