Local News

Some Orange County residents angry over revaluations

Posted March 17, 2009
Updated March 18, 2009

— Residents fighting against higher property valuations in Orange County packed the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night.

Tax reassessments scare some residents Tax reassessments scare some residents

Sybil Skakle, 83, was among those concerned that taxes could go up because property valuations are higher. She said she has lived in the same Orange County house for more than 50 years.

"I think of it as a home. It is a safe haven where I can live,” Skakle said.

However, she says with increasing revaluations on her home, she may not be able to afford to stay there.

"The tax bill just keeps going up,” she told the commissioners.

Recent reassessments place the values of some homes nearly 25 percent higher than four years ago. That could mean higher tax bills for some families.

“People like me can't afford to live in this county,” said Ned Rigsby, from Carrboro.

The state requires counties to revalue land at least every eight years.

County Tax Assessor John Smith said re-valuations are normally offset by adjustments in the tax rate so the county remains revenue neutral.

"The county will receive the same amount of income this year as last year," Smith said.

Because the tough economy has hurt other county income sources, higher valuations could offer commissioners a way to make up the difference if the 2008 tax rate were applied to more highly valued properties. Taxes are set as an amount for each hundred dollars of property value.

People not happy over their valuations can appeal, and about 1,900 have done so.

A group of residents formed the group "Tax Revolt" to continue fighting the revaluations. They plan to meet Monday in the gymnasium of Orange High School.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Alexia.1 Mar 18, 2009

    Iworkforaliving wrote: If they were selling their homes they would have no problem with the higher value. Since they are not selling they are worried about the higher taxes. You can't have it both ways.

    Oh, but yes you can. Property taxes are unfair and unreasonable on so many levels. For one, it taxes people for building a nice home. Live in a dump, pay less taxes. Buy a nice home, pay more. Just because one buys a nice home does not mean they have a high recurring income. Shouldn't anybody be able to work and save to buy a nice home? Oh, but you can't afford the tax-- so give up.

    Further, the taxes are unreasonable. There is simply no excuse for charging a tax on a person's home and, if they fail to pay, throw them into the street. What kind of society is this?

  • pleshy Mar 18, 2009

    That revenue neutral language is a joke. The County Budget gets bigger every year, especially following a reeval. And there is always taxes to cover the bigger budget. The main source of income for the county is - Property Tax and Money from the State General Fund. If the property tax is revenue neutral and the state is not giving the counties any more money, how do the bigger budgets always balance? Do government employees think we are stupid? (Yes). No tax increase is revenue neutral if the revenue always goes up!

  • meeper Mar 18, 2009

    The people of Orange county have spoken. They have elected socialist county commissioners for the last 30 years.
    What rock have you been hiding under? It's a little late to protest property values/taxes now! This county is a runaway tax and spend train. Don't worry though, this bunch of county left wing kooks will be a welcome sight after future state and fed budgets confiscate the remainder of your income!

  • JaySee Mar 18, 2009

    ((County Tax Assessor John Smith said re-valuations are normally offset by adjustments in the tax rate so the county remains revenue neutral))

    I don't get it. Then why raise the tax in the first place? Just leave it the way it is OR, reduce it and help out hurting people. Collections are falling because people have less to spend and jobs are going away. How do you justify raising a tax at a time when they have less? These guys need to stop the word games and get out.

  • Iworkforaliving Mar 18, 2009

    If they were selling their homes they would have no problem with the higher value. Since they are not selling they are worried about the higher taxes. You can't have it both ways.

  • dlb800 Mar 18, 2009

    You people vote the politicians in, deal with it.
    You want your liberal programs, do you really think Obama is going to pay for everything?

  • ignc73 Mar 18, 2009

    It is funny how the liberals as live in Orange County want all of these services and programs but they don't want to have to pay for them - apparently they just want everyone else to pay for them...

    There's nothing to indicate that the same people are complaining. If anything, it's mostly the old-timey redneck republican types that are the ones complaining.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 18, 2009

    Personally, I think property taxes -- especially on one's primary residence -- is just morally wrong. What kind of civilized people would charge people to live in their home and then throw those people onto the street? North Carolina does.

    I understand that revenue has to come from some place, but taxes on personal property are simply a bad idea that goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

    And appeals? I tried that. Wake County decided that my house was the most valuable house in my neighborhood in terms of square feet. I appealed, showing evidence that my house was valued at several dollars more per square foot than any other house in the neighborhood. While I have the proof, my request was denied. So, here I am with higher taxes and declining home values. The house next to me has been on the market for a full year now.

    It's really wrong. I'm just glad I still have a job, else the government would be throwing my family into the street.

  • TheAdmiral Mar 18, 2009

    This is always what happens when they reevaluate using inflationary numbers like we have seen rather than the deflationary numbers on real time sites like Zillow.com

    Welcome to the peoples republic of orange county - you are always welcome to leave your full wallet at the county tax office.

    Then back away from it slowly.

  • DowntownGirl Mar 18, 2009

    Even if the tax values of property don't go up, the rate can go up. It's set every year by July 1. The revaluations are required every eight years by statute as indicated in the article. Historically, the rates have typically been reduced when the values went up. I believe the question I would be asking is how much of a proposed budget increase is expected. That would indicate whether or not the actual tax bill is going to increase.