Ouch! Numbers in recent years lousy for Pasquotank County.
PASQUOTANK COUNTY — At the conclusion of the County Commission meeting on Feb 2 — as everyone was exiting the room — Commissioner Frankie Meads made a statement that caught Chairman Joe Winslow by surprise.
Meads referred to a loss of population in the county, commenting that the headcount had declined over the years by 2,300 people. Winslow, on the other hand, thought the loss was considerably less.
In order to be clear, Commissioner Meads subsequently checked the county reports that are available to all Commissioners. Here are the facts, and other statistics of economic importance:
Population in 2010 stood at 41,844 but declined by 2014 to 39,458, a difference of 2,386.
Debt payments in 2010 were $224,255 for principle and $653.372 for interest payments. yielding a total of for the year of $877,627. In 2011, principle payments were $527,077 and interest payments were $752,066 for a total of $1,279,083. Skip to 2014, when principle payments were $618,465 while interest payments were $622,064 for a total of $1,240, 29. For the first time (in 2014) principle and interest payments were in line with each other. Hopefully this trend will continue, with principle payments becoming greater than interest charges.
School population in 2007 was 6,374, while in 2013, the number of students declined to 5,694 but rose to 5,794 in 2014, with a net decline over the seven year interval of 580.
Retail sales for 2005 were $581,462,000. By 2013, that number had declined to $430,289,000! The drop continued in 2014 to $381.428,000 – a net reduction over the past decade of $200 million!
So what does all this mean to you, the taxpayer? While the debt of the county has declined last year, as we reported previously, the overall economic picture is precarious. Receipts from Tax Revenues have fallen short of the budget and population figures have declined. The school population has declined, yet the school budget continues to increase. So taxpayers should expect that the Commissioners ought to work toward reduction of government expense, at all levels, in an effort to prepare a budget that does not include tax increases.