Meck Co. commissioners may cut property tax rate

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Wesley Heights is a neighborhood that's on the rise with people moving in but with property values have been going up, so have tax bills.
 
Now, it is no surprise people are happy to hear that taxes could actually be going down next year.
 
Paul Jackson and his sister moved to Wesley Heights 32 years ago and the neighborhood was declining and taxes were low.
 
When Wesley Heights was reborn about 10 years ago, it was a mixed blessing.
 
"They made this a historic neighborhood and our taxes jumped up high," said Jackson.
 
But after years of higher tax bills, it looks like relief on the way.

"They need to decrease," said Jackson's sister, Robin Hood, "It will help us out around here.  You can do more with your house and fix them up and stuff."

Mecklenburg County commissioners seemed to agree Friday during their budget retreat that it's time for a tax decrease, but the only question appears to be how big that cut should be.

"I'm excited, yes. That's why I'm smiling." said Commissioner Pat Cotham.

Commissioners learned that County Manager Deana Diorio is looking at a budget that will range from no change in the tax rate to a cut of 2.77 cents on every $100 dollars of property value.

Commissioners expressed general support for a tax cut but the only question appears to be how big the tax cut should be and commissioners look to be split along party lines.

"We've got excess money, we now need to give that money back," said Republican Bill James, who would like to see a cut close to 2 ½ cents which is enough to offset the tax rate increase last year.

"I think there's a strong, easy case to be made for how we can lower the taxes 2 cents and fully fund all the services and still expand some services," added fellow Republican Scott Ridenhour.

But Democrats, who hold the majority, suggested that could be too much too soon.

"We want to be careful and make sure that we're not by doing so cutting services, so I'm looking forward to the continuing discussion we'll have about that," said Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller.

The battle over the size of the potential cut is expected to heat up when Diorio presents her budget proposal on May 20.

For more information about Mecklenburg County taxes, click here.