In 2022, a truly amazing confluence of events came together to make it the year when Guilford County government spending – and future commitments to spending – reached levels never seen before in the county. This Thanksgiving, county officials are no doubt very thankful that the county’s taxpayers are so willing to foot the bill, and also that the children of those taxpayers are so willing to do so as well – even though some of those children haven’t been born yet and some are too young to know the meaning of the words “property tax.”
Here are some of the factors that have led to the current year of spending like no one has seen in the previous 250 years of Guilford County’s existence:
•A huge housing market boom in the county at the exact time the Guilford County Tax Department was conducting its countywide property reevaluation. Guilford County has been on a five-year reevaluation cycle, with the last “reval” being conducted in 2017. In 2022, housing values in the county hit all-time highs and just about any house that went on the market sold instantly. The reevaluation in that white- hot housing market brought in north of $80 million extra even though the tax rate in 2022 didn’t change. Since then, the housing market has cooled off and prices have come down – however, Guilford County property owners will continue to pay on the assessed value that’s now locked in until the next revaluation.
•A Democratic-majority Board of Commissioners that is funding schools, county employees and projects like never before. Republican commissioners took control of the board in 2012 and held that power for eight years. During that time, property taxes never went up – in fact, in two of those eight years, the board lowered taxes. In a year when property values increased due to a revaluation, the Republican board held the tax rate “revenue-neutral,” which meant the revaluation didn’t result in more money for the county to spend.
•The passage of a $1.7 billion school bond. There’s no question that Guilford County Schools needed money to repair and build schools, but there’s a very good question as to whether $1.7 billion was needed in one moonshot referendum. That’s such a massive amount that even the NC Local Government Commission – a state financial oversight commission that barely bats an eye at most local government bond referendums – displayed serious concerns as to whether it was a financially responsible move for Guilford County to take on that kind of debt.
This came on the heels of a $300 million school bond that voters approved in 2020 – with the majority of that money still being held in reserve.
•A huge rise in interest rates. Since Guilford County is borrowing and paying back $1.7 billion for the new school bond, it was already planning to pay back well over $2 billion over the next 20 years when interest was factored in. Now that interest rates are much higher in 2022, a good estimate is the school bond will cost $400 million more than was anticipated when voters approved the bond.
• Pay increases and many benefits to county employees. The county manager and county commissioners have never been as good to county employees as they have been in 2022. County administrators point to a new pay study that shows many Guilford County employees are making less than those in similar positions in comparable counties in the state. One Guilford County director got a 22 percent raise last week, and all county employees are getting raises this month after across-the-board 5 percent raises near the start of 2022. There has also been a major upgrade in employee insurance and retirement benefits.
•Over $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act money that the board has been handing out to local governments, non-profits and other entities. County officials are quick to point out that this money is from the federal government so the responsibility for paying for it doesn’t fall on county property owners. (It only falls on county citizens who pay federal income tax and other federal taxes.)
There’s plenty more going on in Guilford County – for instance, a new Sheriff’s Department headquarters is being built and the county built and opened a new animal shelter, Emergency Services maintenance facility, and a new mental health center in the last two years.
None of this comes cheap, so county officials will no doubt be very grateful for the generosity of Guilford County’s taxpayers for many Thanksgivings to come.
Great article. I did not realize that Greensboro and Guilford County had so many ignorant people. It appears we have numerous village idiots. It will be interesting to see the number of residents leaving this county. Betting the wonderful leaders will not publish those facts.
JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF A GOOD THING CAN THEY.
Generous my foot. Having to pay an extra $700 and we a taxpayers didn’t have a choice. We had to pay it or else. So don’t start this generous stuff with me. I am over taxed as it is and adding $700 didn’t help
Was it legal politicians to finalize the reassessment without offering the taxpayers an option to reduce the tax rate that would have kept the total tax revenue neutral? The windfall of tax revenue has money looking for projects instead of projects looking for money. Totally irresponsible.
We may have to sell off public infrastructure like the Greensboro Water Works to pay interest on that loan someday. Then our water bill will start doubling.
lol! Government leaders grateful? What a joke.
Watch in the coming years what they do to WE THE PEOPLE, of course I do realize it was the PEOPLE who voted in these spendthrift’s and enabled their spending spree , so those that did vote for them cannot complain down the road.
Voters get what they voted for. Enjoy the ride. Keep voting for the same, and expect different results. Insanity.
It is past time to get out. FL & TX are too hot; WY & ND are too cold. Not only that, the homeless situation is becoming so acute as to bring woke SF to mind.
One situation you can draw from the mid terms is that red areas are getting redder and blue getting bluer. Guilford county is hopelessly resigned to the blue pile now. I came here for an employer several years ago and will retire next year. We’re looking at Tennessee for the next move, forgive me for not hanging around to help with the bond debt.
And ‘the beat goes on,and on,etc.’
We should all be Thankful for the Democratic lead board and city council that raised our taxes to a new all time high during a recession that most of us a struggling to endure. Instead of giving the tax payer a break they funded every pet project they could think of. They spend our tax dollars like a drunk train robber!
As the people of this county struggle to pay their bills, the parasites have their snouts deep in the trough.
We’ll, I’ll say it again. Too much representation without taxation. Why in hell should a group of people who receive my money for doing nothing more than being baby farmers get to decide whether or not bonds are passed or MY TAXES go up? These entitled “victims of welfare” and “SOCIAL PROGRAMS” will ALWAYS, each and every time VOTE, for whichever politicians will GIVE them the most of MY MONEY by way of taxation! They pay no freaking state or federal taxes but get to VOTE, they get a say in how MY money is taken from me and other TAX PAYERS and given to them! Pretty good scam for a certain political group. IMPEACH FAUXTY SIX! And Skip Alston too! A twenty-two percent raise for someone who’s already overpaid? Lets not forget the scam master at election central gets a big fat raise too! Maybe Kathy Manning could send him big fat thank you check too!
Just a question from an average guy. Absolutely no college degree here. I was smart enough that I didn’t need a piece of paper to fool folks into thinking I was smart. My question is, if Skip and the democrat led Guilford County board of communist were really intelligent, wouldn’t they and the reevaluation department have know the market values of houses were greatly overvalued due to a huge invasion of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who will need housing and their Communist lock downs during the Communist Chinese biological attack on the United States of America and the rest of the world? I guess not. Or maybe they did and capitalized on the opportunity to SCREW THE TAXPAYERS of Guilford County. Either way, it is all due to REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION!
Where are the raises for the people who deserve it the most? Police, Fire, First Responders?
With Skip and Nancy holding office, those who worked to get them elected will get first dibs on the money. And of course, taxpayers are left with crumbs.
I wonder if Skip will just use all this money to roll around in in his yard like a puppy in a pile of leaves.
Maybe like a pup in a pile of sh-t.
Ha, ha! Good one, Chris.