Reprinted from the Outer Banks Voice
A new chapter in 2-year-old litigation over Currituck County’s use of more than $30 million in occupancy tax revenue opened recently when the plaintiffs in that suit announced they had filed a motion June 24 for partial summary judgment in the case.
The original May 2019 suit, which was filed by the Corolla Civic Association and nearly two dozen other signatories against Currituck County and some of its officials, alleged that the county failed to allocate occupancy tax funds “only for tourism-related expenditures, including beach nourishment,” as specified in the 2004 law allowing the county to collect an occupancy tax.
The motion for partial summary judgment asks the Superior Court to “find that Currituck County had illegally used more than $30 million of Occupancy Tax (OT) revenue to pay for general Sheriff and Emergency Medical Services in direct contravention of the OT statute as amended in 2004,” according to a statement from the plaintiffs released on July 6.
The motion asks the court to order “that these funds be returned to the Tourism Development Authority so that they can be applied to legally authorized uses, including beach nourishment.”
A Voice attempt to get comment from Currituck County officials on this new twist in the litigation was unsuccessful. But when the Voice wrote about the suit in 2019, Currituck County Attorney Ike McRee emailed a response that said, “The plain language of the Occupancy Tax Act gives the Currituck County Board of Commissioners discretion to determine what constitutes ‘tourism-related expenditures’ and the Currituck County Board of Commissioners has exercised its judgment and discretion in accordance with law.”
In an email sent to the Voice after the announcement of the June 24 motion, Barbara Marzetti, president of the Corolla Civic Association, wrote that the plaintiffs decided to file that motion “after reviewing discovery responses provided by the County, as well as deposition transcripts of County officials. Plaintiffs feel that their motion to have OT expenditures on General Public Safety services declared illegal is supported by this evidence.”
This story is provided courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice, a digital newspaper covering the Outer Banks. Coastal Review is partnering with the Voice to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest about our coast.