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Chatham County Taxpayers Concerned About Property Tax Boost

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PITTSBORO — Dozens of people packed into a Northwood High School in Pittsboro Thursday night, trying to convince Chatham County commissioners to reduce a proposed property tax rate increase.

They think the proposed 75 cent rate is too high, given a recent jump in property values.

In the last valuation, official property values skyrocketed in Chatham County. Some doubled, even tripled.

"My mother, who was recently widowed and who is on a fixed income, just has five acres of land and her home. She will not be able to afford her taxes without the help of her children," says one taxpayer.

Just two years after Jay and Donna Hilliard built their home, the county revalued it at over $300,00. "I couldn't believe it," says Jay Hilliard. "I was angry, frustrated. I'd seen no one come out. No one knocked on my door to say we need to re-evaluate.

Chatham County's proximity to Cary and the Research Triangle Park has driven up property values even in agricultural parts of the county.

County commissioners say they need the revenue to pay for higher teacher's salaries, since they will be getting less help from the state.

"It's not as if county government is rapidly expanding," commissioner Gary Phillips says. "It's simply that we're caught in the middle of a lot of economic forces."

Chatham County commissioners will decide to go ahead with the 75-cent rate, or something smaller, by the end of June.


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