If you doubt that the City of Greensboro is flush with funds, the City Council work session on Thursday, March 16 in the Plaza Level Conference Room offers additional proof.
The program that was tentatively approved by the City Council is to give up to $250,000 in property tax refunds to low income property owners, because the revaluation for 2022 property taxes increased by an average of 30 percent. This is the equivalent of over an 8-cent increase in the property tax rate.
At the March 16 work session, the City Council agreed to grant refunds to low income property owners in Greensboro who were adversely affected by the tremendous increase in their property tax bill. Low income was defined as $41,000 or below for a single person household and $47,000 or below for a household of two or more people and the home must have a tax value of less than $250,000.
Those who meet the qualifications would be limited to a refund equal to the difference in the property tax bill paid in 2021 and the one paid in 2022.
Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said, “We’d like to cut it off at $250,000.”
Davis explained that the city was attempting to initiate this new tax refund program with the current staff and if the city received requests for much more than $250,000 in tax refunds, additional staff would likely have to be hired.
Davis said, “We don’t want to create a program that costs $200,000 to refund $250,000.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that the refunds would only be available for a primary residence.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower objected to the fact that those applying for the Greensboro property refund would have to provide the city with their income tax return to prove they met the income requirements.
Hightower also objected to a provision that a person would only be eligible if they owned the property and paid the property taxes themselves. Hightower asked if she paid her mother’s property taxes, if her mother met the income requirements, would she be eligible for a refund and was told no.
Those who participate in the county program to reduce property taxes for low income property owners would also not be eligible for the city program. The county program covers both county and city property taxes while the city program only covers city of Greensboro property taxes.
City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said that the city could move forward with the program without a vote by the City Council but would provide the council with updates.
Vaughan said that she wanted the City Council to approve the new tax refund program by a recorded vote at a regular City Council meeting “to keep it clean and transparent.”
The new tax refund program is item I.4 on at the Tuesday, March 21 City Council meeting agenda.
At times it takes months to have an item added to the City Council agenda. However, if it is an item that city staff wants added to the agenda it can be done in a matter of days.