Wells Fargo owns the Duke Energy Center and the county said it has discovered they've been underpaying on taxes. It’s a slap in the face for Dilworth homeowner Emily Zuyus who fought to get her home value lowered. “A $300 to $400 million building has been paying a discounted bill for years?” Zuyus said. “It just makes no sense.” In 2011, the assessed value of $271 million was based on the building only being about 60 percent occupied. Now it's 92 percent full but the county hasn't been increasing that tax value.
They now think it’s worth more like $378 million.
The error is costing taxpayers as much as much as $1.5 million a year. At Tuesday night's county commission meeting, county tax assessor Ken Joyner tried to explain what happened, blaming Wells Fargo’s appeal of the tax value when it was under construction. “Under normal circumstances where if that had not been appealed, it would have been upped each year,” Joyner said. Commissioner Pat Cotham had a lot of questions for appraisers at the meeting but said she was cut off by Chairman Trevor Fuller. “Alright well, if you will give us a short answer to this question,” Fuller said. Cotham fired back Wednesday. “I was shocked that I was silenced,” Cotham said. She said taxpayers need more answers. “What are they doing to make sure we have controls to prevent this from happening again?” she said. Cotham vows to keep pressing the issue and expects to find more errors that have been costing the county cash.