May 16, 2023 at 4:16 p.m.

Tax Rates Cut, But Tax Bills Going Up

Tax Rates Cut, But Tax Bills Going Up
Tax Rates Cut, But Tax Bills Going Up

Wayne Howard- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

When is a tax rate cut not a reduction in taxes?  When revaluation shows higher property values that more than offset the  rate cut percentage.

County Commissioners in Lincoln County discussed their 2024 budget briefly in their mid-monthly meeting Monday night (May 15th) but no changes were made and the tax rate will be cut from 61.9 cents per hundred dollars valuation to 49.9 cents.  That's a 20% decrease, but because properties increased in value by an average of 65%, your tax bill in July will be more.

Gaston County Commissioners approved their budget for the coming fiscal year last week.  They, too, are decreasing the rate--to the lowest figure since 1970.  The 24% reduction is lower than revenue neutral, so Gaston will operate on less property tax dollars in fiscal 2024 than it did this year.  Still, since revaluation added 50% or more to property values (some  of them 75% or more), Gaston County taxpayers will also get a bigger tax bill.  

While most towns haven't yet finalized their budget (holding a required public hearing and a final vote), muncipal taxes are also going to be higher.  Lincolnton will cut the city tax rate to 50 cents, a 9% decrease, but because of revaluation, city tax bills will also be more.

Catawba County Manager Mary Furtado recommended a Catawba County budget for Fiscal Year 2023/24 of $299,746,020, reflecting a tax rate of 39.85 cents per $100 in valuation and an overall 2.1 percent decrease in the total budget.

The recommended tax rate would take the County below its revenue neutral rate of 39.95 cents and represents a 30.7% reduction in the current rate (57.5 cents per $100 in valuation). This rate currently ranks as the lowest recommended tax rate in the region and preserves Catawba County’s long-standing position of having a rate well below statewide and area county averages.

The General Fund comprises $241,646,255 of the total recommended budget, representing a 6.1 percent increase over the current year driven by significant inflationary pressures across all areas of operations.

Like Lincoln, Gaston, and several other area counties, Catawba County conducted a  required property revaluation this year; and like the others, saw real estate values increase significantly more than anything previously experienced.  Cleveland County conducted a revaluation in 2021, but since its schedule of values were well below the 75% required by the state, the county was told to conduct a new revaluation.  That will happen next year in Cleveland County.

“This budget represents Catawba County’s continued commitment to delivering high quality government services supported by a low, stable property tax rate anticipated to sustain the County’s operating needs until the next revaluation” Furtado said.

Budget hearings and final budget adoption will take place over the next few weeks in the Board of Commissioners Meeting Room at the Catawba County Justice Center at 100 Government Drive in Newton. County department and community agency hearings will take place next Wednesday (May 24th), and a public hearing will take place the following Wednesday (May 31st) at 7:00 PM. Catawba County Commissioners are expected to adopt the final budget during their regular meeting on Monday June 5th.

The full recommended budget and supporting documents are available for viewing online at www.catawbacountync.gov or in person in the County Manager’s Office at 25 Government Center Drive in Newton.



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