Local News

Morrisville homeowners voice concerns over tax hike

Posted June 18, 2008 7:04 p.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2008 10:43 p.m. EDT

— A proposed budget with a double-digit tax hike driven partly by property revaluations is creating controversy in Morrisville.

On average, homeowners have seen their property values go up 38 percent after Wake County's recent reassessment. The more a home is worth, the higher the tax bill.

To help offset the increase, many Wake County towns are considering significantly reducing their tax rates so that homeowners' tax bills stay about the same or go up only a little. However, that is not the case in Morrisville.

The average townwide proposed increase in homeowners' bills is 19 percent, the largest in Wake County.

Residents voiced their concerns over the budget during a packed Board of Commissioners meeting Wednesday night, six days before the board votes.

“This proposed budget shows a lack of fiscal restraint in the face of tough economic times,” resident Jane Rockwell said.

“The government of Morrisville is not representing my concerns,” resident Ty Elliott said.

In defending the budget, Mayor Jan Faulkner told the crowd the additional revenue would help Morrisville keep pace with other Wake County towns.

“Without it, we'll have to stop programs, not fund some roads and not develop downtown,” she said.

Faulkner said there are two main priorities that the town needs property taxes to fund.

“Transportation issues and downtown development. We need attention paid to those two things in Morrisville and we're trying to do that,” she said.

Part of a $3.4 million spending increase would go toward widening a section of Morrisville-Carpenter Road, Faulkner said.

Homeowner Jackie Holcombe took a close look at the budget to see where the money would go.

“The biggest increase in the budget is going to departmental expenses – salary and personnel,” Holcombe said.

The mayor said that is a cost-of-living increase and that the 19 percent increase now to avoid others later.

“We have Cary, Holly Springs, Raleigh, that are talking about a tax increase already next year. We're talking about let's do it now, and hold tight for the remaining five to eight years, because we have a long-range view,” Faulkner said.

“I would understand a small tax increase if it were going to right priorities,” Holcombe said.

As for other Wake County towns: Garner, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina have a zero tax increase proposal; Knightdale has a 5 percent increase and Cary has a 2 percent increase.