Pitt County budget includes tax increase and more money for teachers

PITT COUNTY, NC (WITN) Pitt County residents will see their taxes go up after commissioners approved the budget for the next fiscal year.

Commissioners voted 6 to 3 to pass a 3.5% tax increase that includes 0.2% for Pitt County Schools.

That money is aimed toward increasing teacher supplements and some of those who spoke in favor of them were surprised when county commissioners sided with them after a long debate.

One teacher who addressed the commissioners said, "We are talking about the betterment of our children, the betterment of our county, the betterment of us."

Danisha Williams, Treasurer of Pitt County Association of Educators says, "A lot of teachers use money from their own pockets to fund their classrooms."

They ended up getting half of what they wanted after the first vote to add teacher supplement money to the county budget failed.

Pitt County Commissioner Tom Coulson said, "It's not that I'm against teachers having supplemental, it's the wording."

Some county commissioners worried it would set a dangerous precedent by taking the pressure off of state legislators to fund state education and putting a burden on counties.

Commissioner Chris Nunnally says other counties in the east have started including money for supplements, even though it means raising taxes.

Nunnally says, "The 2/10ths of a cents compromise I strongly feel is a good way for us to start moving in the right direction."

Williams says she and other teachers at the meeting are happy about the results even if it's less money than they hoped for.

The Pitt County School Board will have discretion over how to spend the money they get from this tax increase, but Williams says she is confident it will go towards teacher supplements.

Pitt County Schools will not get those funds until January 2020.