- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Dare County’s sales tax could soon rise a quarter-cent to help remove sand in a North Carolina inlet now off limits to many ships so the aging Bonner Bridge is protected.

The full House gave overwhelming initial approval Tuesday to give Dare commissioners the power to increase the sales tax without a referendum, provided the proceeds are used only for dredging. That could bring the total sales tax in the county to 7 percent.

The bill comes days after the U.S. Coast Guard closed Oregon Inlet to all but small recreational vessels because sand has made the channel too shallow.

Dare commissioners requested the tax authority. A legislative analyst estimates it could generate almost $4 million next year.

The bill needs one more vote before it goes to the Senate.

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