Local News

Some Orange County residents angry over revaluations

Posted March 17, 2009 10:18 p.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2009 7:38 a.m. EDT

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

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.