Watauga County Commissioners Tuesday voted to approve a resolution calling for a referendum on a quarter percent sales tax increase. 

The resolution will put a quarter percent sales tax increase referendum on the ballot for the upcoming May Primary.

If passed by the voters, proceeds from the additional sales tax would be used to reduce the current property tax rate by 2 cents, taking the rate of $0.353 down to a new rate of $0.333.

Commission Chairman John Welch said if passed the new rate would drop Watauga County once again to the 99th lowest county tax rate in the state. 

County Manager Deron Geouque said that general statutes are specific about how the issue is worded on the ballot and the county cannot put an explanation of its intended use on the ballot.  The resolution passed by commissioners states the intention to use the proceeds to reduce the property tax rate.  Chairman Welch said the last time there was a sales tax referendum "...the waters got a little muddy. So we want this to be as clear as possible."

Welch reiterated that Tuesday's vote was not to approve a sales tax increase, but just to approve putting the matter to the people to vote. 

If passed, the new rate would be reflected in next years budget, starting July 1st, and proceeds from the sales tax increase would begin showing up in October.