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Wake Aims to Hold Tax Bills Steady After Values Rise

Posted January 22, 2008

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— The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday set itself a target tax rate that would protect many homeowners from seeing their bills rise because of increased property assessments and could even lower taxes.

Most Wake County homes are worth more because of a revaluation completed last year. In a move to have the county stick by a revenue-neutral budget, however, the commissioners said they want to lower the tax rate to balance that.

Tax bills are the result of multiplying the assessed value of a property times a tax rate, usually some amount per hundreds dollars of value. If values go up and the tax rate goes down enough, the resulting bill can stay the same or even go down.

Currently, taxes on a $200,000 home are about $1,300. Next year, the commissioners said, that bill would drop to about $1,000 with their target tax rate of 53 cents per $100.

Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble led the push to keep property taxes nearly the same.

“I just think this addresses a number of concerns from people who weren't going to be able to pay their taxes on their own,” Coble said. “We're going to recognize that we have to live within a budget just like those who are affected by revaluation.”

A majority of commissioners signed off on the idea of directing the county manager to draw up a budget with the target tax rate.

However, Commissioner Betty Lou Ward, who voted against it, said she's worried it's a promise commissioners won’t be able to keep.

“It concerns me that we're taking a vote that we may have to go back on in a few months,” Ward said.

Others said that if they do have to change the goal because of other factors, it will at least be a public statement.

“We'll be transparent,” Joe Bryan, commission chairman said.

The bottom line will be clearer later this year, when commissioners will have to decide if they need more money for services.

If you live in any of Wake County's 12 cities or town, the value of your home is subject to each local government’s tax rate, too, and the commissioners say they will urge the communities to lower their tax rates as well.

The county lists current tax rates on its Web site.

31 Comments

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  • imtiredofit Jan 24, 2008

    Taxing a homeowner on the re-evaluated value of their home is the same as the IRS trying to tax someone on the estimated value of their stock holdings. It is not your money until it is sold and that is why the IRS DOES NOT tax anyone on the shares they own, only on the shares they sell or the dividends they receive during the year from the shares they own. Increasing taxes on the perceived or potential value of their homes is not a fair thing to do. Homeowner taxes normally go up every year and this is to be expected, but taxing someone on a increased valuation that DOES NOT put a penny in someones pocket is just wrong.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 23, 2008

    Leonardo -

    I still say you have to pull your head out. The fact of the matter is that if you believe that a reval of the property is the way to do it - you are nucking futs.

    If you want people to pay their fair share, then do it based on income - not some number that is imagined. If you want everyone to pay their fair share then tax the property so that everyone pays the same amount. A fair share of allowing a poor family get jerked around because they can't afford a $2,000 bill because of the inflated number is not fair. PERIOD.

    What you are saying is that it is perfectly fair for people re-evaluated at that rate based on a booming real estate market. You want fair - everyone pay $1.98. Don't blow smoke here screaming that if you own property you deserve your share - because your basing it on an inflated idea of fair.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 23, 2008

    Leonardo

    I have no problem with the revaluations. Property values do change and if the only mechanism that the county used for tax purposes was to only adjust the mil rate forever, things would get wildly out of skew from one tax payer to the next. My entire problem here was this story as currently written would tend to make a lot of people believe their next tax bill is not going to change very much. If they do set the new rate at 53, the majority of homeowners in Wake county will see a significant tax increase. Mine looks to be about a 22 per cent increase. Others will get an even higher increase. This story does not convey that; it sets the opposite tone instead.
    I think it is better for the Commissioners overall if a more accurate portrayal is put forth by the media. Otherwise, when the new bills come out they will be hearing from a lot of angry people.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 23, 2008

    Leonardo -

  • TheAdmiral Jan 23, 2008

    tmedlin -

    The lawyer for the builder stated that since it was a new home, it was not required - the inherent value of the property the builder put on it was what the took at face value.

    I am not stupid. I can drive down a road and guess what a house is worth. The appraisal I had paid for put it at what I paid for it, not the $50K the county just dubbed it was worth.

  • TheAdmiral Jan 23, 2008

    Leonardo - You said it yourself: "Revenue neutral means that the county is not taking in more money than before the reevaluations. The new valuations simply make the tax bills fairer for everyone."

    So after chastising me for it - I think you are right. The property that was given to a poor family that was once worth $99,000 which has a single bedroom house on it that is now worth $345,000 overnight. I think it is time for them to pay their fair share - darned freeloaders. I don't know how they will pay for it with their $17,000 Social Security yearly check, but who cares - what is fair is fair!

  • Leonardo Jan 23, 2008

    "Is it completely dishonest to allow taxes to increase because of a reval. A tax increase is a completely different issue and should be handled separately. Some questionable government officials around the country have used revals as a convenient scapegoat by not readjusting the rate, rather than allowing the reval to be revenue neutral for equalization purposes. Honest governments do not do allow taxes to increase by inaction. Cowardly, dishonest ones do."

    I fully agree. And Wake County is doing the right thing in this case. They're making sure that the taxes are revenue neutral.

  • Leonardo Jan 23, 2008

    whatelseisnew -

    So you don't like the fact that the county reevaluates property values to make sure the taxes are fair for everyone. Well then what do you suggest? Should the property value only be determined when the house is built? So, for example, if a home was built in the 1960's for $10,000, should the tax be based on that, instead of the current value of $200,000?

    Please...tell me what you suggest we should do.

  • Leonardo Jan 23, 2008

    "Leonardo - Pull your head out of your derrier. If you think for one minute that rich people are the only ones who live in the city who didn't pay their fair share, then I think you need to go to downtown and see the run down shacks where people live. You want to pay their fair share? The property is near being condemned and wake county jacked it up 43%. You are the kind of person to vote for Clinton, Osama Obama or Edwards just so you can be taxed more." - TheAdmiral

    Listen up 'Admiral'. The county is not taking in more money. If your home has increased in value while the homes of people out in places like Clayton and Wendel haven't, why shouldn't you have to pay your fair share of taxes? Or would you prefer that people out in Clayton and Wendel continue paying at a higher rate than people in the city? This has nothing to do with higher taxes....it only has to do with making the taxes fair for everyone. Understand yet?

  • enderby Jan 23, 2008

    Is it completely dishonest to allow taxes to increase because of a reval. A tax increase is a completely different issue and should be handled separately. Some questionable government officials around the country have used revals as a convenient scapegoat by not readjusting the rate, rather than allowing the reval to be revenue neutral for equalization purposes. Honest governments do not do allow taxes to increase by inaction. Cowardly, dishonest ones do.

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