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Archive for the ‘Budgets and taxes’ Category

The Cross Creek annexation in July 1 will boost the city’s tax base by about 15 percent.

One of the interesting tidbits in the budget is a breakdown on how much the city will bring in from the annexation. The figure stands at just under $130 million, which increases the overall tax base from about $879.5 million to $1.08 billion. Under the current property tax rate of 63 cents per $100 valuation, that comes out to about $819,000 in annual tax revenues.

That’s not all free money of course. The city still has to borrow millions to add water and sewer service to Cross Creek. The annexations have also raised debate about needing to spend more on fire and police protection.

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The Mount Airy city budget is up on ready to view online. It will take at least a weekend to dissect it all, but the bottom line is a water fee increase of 8 percent and a tax increase to boot. The water rate increase is especially dicy, given outrage over last year’s 45 percent hike. The general fund could always subsidize the water/sewer fund to drive down rates, if we can find something out of the general fund to cut. Since the budget document is now in plain view, the work begins combing it for potential adjustments. Any impressions?

(and for context’s sake, here is where to find a breakdown of water rates in other North Carolina municipalities)

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Don’t pay your property taxes by March 1 and your name ends up in a newspaper advertisement listing all the delinquent taxpayers.

It’s an annual incentive/threat to get the bill paid on time that’s mandated by state law for every municipality. That’s a mandate Mount Airy Commissioner Deborah Cochran is none too happy about. Before voting to authorize the advertisement because it’s legally required, Cochran made it clear Thursday that she views such a threat as overly harsh and embarrassing to folks who may be going through times of financial hardship. The flip side to that argument is that getting ride of the ad would make for one less way to persuade property owners from dragging their feet on taxes.

Interestingly enough, the total amount of unpaid taxes for Mount Airy comes out to $320,600, about double what it was last year.

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Will the extra quarter-cent sales tax fly through the referendum Tuesday. Not likely, even though there’s no organized opposition. I’m not saying it will fail. I think it will pass. But it won’t be by a landslide. A lot of folks just don’t like tax increases, no matter how small or who else might be paying them. And as our county ages — and it is aging rapidly as retirees move in and young people look elsewhere for decent jobs — getting people excited about building new schools gets more difficult because so many don’t have a direct, vested interest. The message that needs to be hammered home is that Surry County can’t stay the same. It can get better, or it can get worse. Not attending to our school needs can only insure it will get worse.

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