Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Counties getting PR training. It was an interesting morning at the Quorom Center in downtown Raleigh. County commissioners from across the state met to learn how to run a good PR campaign.

Essentially, these county commissioners were learning how to beat the realtors.

Thanks to the General Assembly, counties now have the opportunity to raise a sales tax or land transfer tax on their own. The can put one or both on the ballot but can only use one tax at a time. They must also get voter approval.

Counties say they desperately need the money to pay for schools, water and sewer, and other needs to deal with the old problems and incoming ones with growth.

The Realtor's Association put up a huge and expensive campaign to fight the plan but lawmakers approved it anyway. The fight's not over though, as the realtors take the fight to the local level.

27 counties are asking for approval of one or both this November already. Six more are planning on it next May and the list continues to grow.

County Commissioners will tell you the training was more about convincing voters the need for the increase but make no mistake this training was as much about fighting the realtors.

I'm told by the communications chief for the association that this is a rather unusual event that's never been done before.

Definitely adds an interesting twist to the election season!

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