The Greensboro City Council likes to compare Greensboro to other large cities in the state when it makes Greensboro, or more importantly the City Council, look good.
However, the City Council complains bitterly when that comparison is made regarding property tax rates. The comparisons of property tax rates are said to be unfair because, according to the City Council, no two cities are alike. The same could be said about any comparison with any city, but for employee salaries (other than police salaries), water rates and other matters where Greensboro looks good, the comparisons are considered meaningful.
Take Cary, one of the fastest growing cities in the state with a population, according to the US Census Bureau, of over 180,000. A comparison with Cary actually makes more sense than a comparison with Charlotte, which has a population of over 897,000 – or almost three times the size of Greensboro, at just over 301,000.
Cary is not raising property taxes this year, didn’t raise property taxes last year and the property tax rate is 34.5 cents compared to Greensboro currently at 63.25, and projected to increase to 67.25 this year – nearly twice that of Cary.
Durham, which is also growing much faster than Greensboro, is essentially the same size with a population of just under 292,000. While Durham has about 9,000 fewer people, its projected budget for 2023-2024 is $610 million compared to $749 million for Greensboro. Durham is projecting no property tax increase this year and currently has a property tax rate of 55.77 cents – almost 10 cents lower than the projected tax rate for Greensboro.
Plus, both Durham and Cary pay their police officers more than Greensboro.
Durham provides its citizens with city services and pays police officers more for $139 million less per year than Greensboro.
Maybe Greensboro should study how Durham and Cary provide services at a much lower property tax rate than Greensboro.
And certainly someone should take a look at how Durham, a city the same size as Greensboro, growing at more than twice the rate of Greensboro, manages to operate on $139 million less each year.