The world has been through a global pandemic and now riots but, somewhat remarkably, the people in Guilford County have been paying their property taxes at a rate higher than last year.  

This week, Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis said he’d been pleasantly surprised after reviewing the numbers. As the fiscal year approaches a close at the end of this month, property owners have paid 99.06 of the taxes assessed.

The Guilford County Tax Department collection rate has been high for years – the county frequently finishes in the top 10 among counties in the state in that regard – however, this year, with the economy shutting down to an amazing degree, and with many county residents out of work, no one was sure what was going to happen.

One thing that has helped tremendously is that the majority of property owners in the county paid their tax bills before the pandemic hit.  But that now magnifies the question of what the numbers will look like in the upcoming fiscal year – something that no doubt will largely be dependent on how well and how fast the economy recovers.

According to Chavis, the changes don’t sound like much when expressed as percentages, but small changes in the collection rate can mean a difference of millions of dollars coming in to pay for vital county services such as schools, law enforcement and social services.

Chavis said one particular standout area when it comes to paying those bills was Jamestown, where property owners have paid about 99.40 percent of the taxes owed.

The tax director said he’s not sure what it is about that small town.

“I’m thinking about moving to Jamestown,” Chavis joked. “There are a lot of people there who pay their taxes.”