Dear Hyde County Commissioners,

Before acting to permanently appropriate $100,000 annually from the OT (occupancy tax) and designate this to the general fund of Hyde County, it might be beneficial to read the Chapter 806, House Bill 13444 which details how this money can be used.

The three most important and relevant sentences are:

“Hyde County may use the proceeds of the occupancy tax for any public purpose.”

“The county shall spend ninety percent (90%) of the proceeds collected on Ocracoke only for the benefit of the island.”  

“The island advisory board shall advise the board of commissioners on the expenditure of tax proceeds for the direct benefit of the island.”

The wording is clear and explicit. Nowhere does it direct any of the funds to be used to promote tourism (although it doesn’t prohibit it). 

If there is a strong need to promote tourism, there is a Session Law 2006-128 House bill 882 which authorizes the levying of a 2% occupancy tax 2/3 of the proceeds are to be used for “promotion of travel or tourism.” 

There is no need or justification for taking $100,000 annually to promote tourism from proceeds collected under House Bill1344 when House Bill 882 is specifically designated for that purpose.

Ocracoke and Hyde County should use all the resources available to provide services to residents and visitors.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not a step forward.

Respectfully,   Al Scarborough