Courtney Gatson says she can afford the extra pennies but not everyone can. "This is a recession going on," she said. "This is the wrong time to do that."
The new referendum will be on the November ballot. City leaders say other counties like Wake and Orange already have the tax but didn't ask voters' permission.
Just a few blocks from NCCU, there are signs opposing the tax. The Hayti Heritage Center on Fayetteville Street is surrounded by signs that read no food tax. The facility is one of the of the cultural and recreation centers that would benefit from the extra money.
Michael Page, Durham Board of Commissioners, said cultural and recreational centers are top priority. "One of our top priorities in this community is to continue to preserve and build new opportunities for culture."
Eighty percent of the money will go to civic and cultural projects like Hayti and trails. Ten percent will go towards marketing Durham, 5 percent goes toward clean up, and 5 percent for workforce training.
"In order for us to compete, in order for us to maintain our infrastructure, we are going to have to have ways to increase revenue in our community," Page said.
Opposers of the tax say that revenue would cost the people who are already burdened the most in the community.