The old joke, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out,” is an entirely fitting description for the City Council work session on Thursday, May 26.
It took a while, but after about 90 minutes of drivel and claptrap, Mayor Nancy Vaughan brought up the proposed 30 percent property tax increase and the City Council finally discussed the overall budget, and not $50 here or $150 there, which it had been discussing in great detail.
The budget proposed by City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba maintains the 66.25 cent tax rate, but because of the revaluation of property by Guilford County, the result of not lowering the tax rate is about a 30 percent property tax increase.
The revenue neutral rate of 54.56 cents would result in the city receiving the same amount of property taxes as if there had not been a revaluation. Another way to look at it is that if there had not been a revaluation, Jaiyeoba would be proposing an 11.39 cent tax increase.
The last tax increase, which was discussed at length by the City Council before being imposed, was 3 cents in 2019. The tax rate increase that Jaiyeoba is proposing in his first budget is nearly four times the 2019 increase.
City managers invariably emphasize that the budget they are presenting is in line with the priorities set by the City Council at its annual winter retreat. Jaiyeoba did this, but ignored what Vaughan and city councilmembers said about the tax rate, which they said should be near the revenue neutral rate.
Vaughan brought the City Council back to reality during the work session. She said, “It appears we are just going along to get along when there are some objections to this budget.”
She said, “The bottom-line is I’m not happy with the 11 cents.”
She added, “I think 11 cents is way too much for my appetite. I’d almost like the staff to go back to revenue neutral and start from that.”
Councilmember Hugh Holston agreed saying, “I’d be in favor of looking at a lower rate, revenue neutral plus maybe 2 cents or 4 cents.”
Each penny of the property tax rate brings in about $3.68 million in revenue. So suggesting that the property tax rate be brought down to two cents above revenue neutral would mean cutting over $33 million from Jaiyeoba’s proposed budget.
Even Councilmember Sharon Hightower said the 11-cent tax increase was too much for her and she suggested that the City Council put a hold on the proposed new general services department, which is just one of the many new expenses in the budget.
District 3 City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Justin Outling expressed concern about Vaughan’s suggestion that it didn’t make sense to add eight police officers when there were so many vacancies. Outling said increasing the police personnel budget would increase the money available for overtime.
Outling didn’t express concern about the enormous proposed property tax increase.
As usual they talk. That’s what Democrats do, plus spend loads of other peoples money. Tell city mgr Mojo this is not Charlotte. We have a city council that has no clue how to balance a budget plus they take the money to spoon feed their own.
Fire Tai !
Fire Tai !
FIRE TAI !
Do you mean “The Charlotte Moron”
They will not. He is doing exactly what council wants/told him to do…. Present a budget with an enormous rate hike. The council will spout and preach about how unfair it is to the masses and insist on a more moderate increase. In the end, we will get a finalized budget with a 3 to 4% hike and the council will take all the credit for “saving money”.
Such B.S. But sadly, most voters will shake council’s hands and thank them for it.
That’s one way to get what you want. Ask for the stars, and you get the moon that you wanted in the first place.
Just like DukeNation requesting a huge rate increase for electricity (+ natural gas, which has tripled recently), and getting less – which is what they wanted anyway.
Nancy, just cut out anything non-essential from the budget. Cure Violence, 6 figure art projects, The Money Pit…I mean Civil Rights Museum, etc. You’re welcome.
No Don you were right the first time it really should be called “The Money Pit”. If people in Greensboro want to see a REAL Museum please go to the Greensboro Historical Museum. It’s great you don’t need a tour guide,it’s also FREE and it never asks for city or county money. Give it a visit
You’re welcome is the new city marketing slogan. I can think of lots of things the “You’re Welcome” applies to and it is not what the city thinks.
Wow this guy is a smooth talker. This is a budget arrogant & ridiculous enough to maybe result in having one or two gadflies elected to council who will question this idiocy of couching a huge tax hike as “flat” .
At any rate (((eyeroll))) maybe people will start paying attention now.
Just like the last property revaluation, the comparables were based on a market value surge that crashed immediately thereafter. Also, the comparables were valued after the home owner spent money to prepare the house for sale. Most of us would have to spend considerably to prepare a house for market that we have lived in for 20 years. We had to live with the resulting increase in our taxes, yes a tax increase regardless if the RATE did not change. Property taxes are the only tax that is based on a speculative value, not a transactional value! Imagine taxing shareholders on the basis of a stock market value at a point in time as opposed to when they sold their stock.
Taxing property owners on an unrealized valuation is unfair, immoral, and should be unlawful!!!
Property taxes make the government the owner of all property within a state. If not paid, they take your property. You can pay for and improve the property and think of it as yours, but they will take it. We need to get rid of property taxes and use a tax on income to pay for city services. This would be huge for retired citizens, and would make the part of the population that does not own property pay more attention to what tax money is spent on.