CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As hundreds of thousands of Mecklenburg County residents discover the new values of their homes, some upwards of 100 percent compared to the last revaluation, county commissioners are at a luxury resort in Greensboro for their annual budget retreat.
Mecklenburg County staff estimates say residential properties went up an average of 44 percent and commercial properties went up an average of 77 percent.
A heat map created by the county tax assessor shows many people with large revaluations live in parts of east Charlotte, Plaza Midwood, NoDa, Villa Heights and parts of west Charlotte.
A large property revaluation doesn’t automatically equal a tax increase.
The key is the tax rate.
Commissioners will have an opportunity to make it revenue neutral, meaning the county generates the same amount of money as the previous budget.
That doesn’t mean tax bills will remain the same.
Mecklenburg County Budget Director Michael Bryant says people may see their bills rise or fall, even with a revenue neutral rate.
For example, if the revenue neutral rate is 60 cents, assuming an owner has a $23,944 car, a previously valued $242,200 home with a 28.84 percent increase in value would see its property tax bill drop by $175. With a 40.41 percent increase in value, the same home would see a $7 county property tax bill increase at revenue neutral. With a 56.82 percent increase in value, the county property tax bill would rise by $232 at revenue neutral.
The entirely Democratic Mecklenburg County Commission has discussed big goals, including expanding access to early childhood education, increasing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools funding, expediting greenway funding and contributing to affordable housing.
Bryant informed commissioners new initiatives are not possible under revenue neutral funding.
With the goals in mind, Chair of Mecklenburg County Commission George Dunlap is encouraging his colleagues to have political will when it comes to setting the tax rate.
“I am just going to be honest with people -- the likelihood of a revenue neutral tax rate is probably slim to none,” Dunlap said.
The discussion over the tax rate will continue for several months.
Tax bills do not go out until July.
Vice Chair Elaine Powell, who represents a district previously represented by a Republican, told commissioners many of her constituents do not want the rate above revenue neutral.
“If we need any more money than revenue neutral, I think we need to be crystal clear in what that is and get community input before we move forward,” Powell said.
County Economist Brandon Simmons told commissioners the average person should be able to handle the revaluation hit.
He said it is unlikely there will be a “mass exodus” to Union County over the bills.
Simmons told commissioners his biggest concerns are for renters whose property owners may pass the bill onto them, and people who live in affordable housing.
He warned commissioners revaluation may lead to a reduced amount of affordable housing in gentrifying neighborhoods.
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