Anyone who’s gone into Harris Teeter in the last two years knows that the price of just about everything has been going up – and that may soon also be true of the amount cities and towns in Guilford County pay the Guilford County Tax Department for the service of collecting their property taxes.
People who live in unincorporated Guilford County pay county property taxes and the people who live in cities and towns that have property taxes, pay both county taxes and the taxes owed to their municipalities. However, in all cases, it’s the Guilford County Tax Department that collects those taxes.
Guilford County charges each town and city .62 percent of the amount collected in municipal taxes, and that rate has remained the same for the past 13 years. Now, however, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is considering raising that collection fee to either .75 percent or a full 1 percent.
The board was supposed to kick off that discussion at a work session held just before Christmas. However, other issues took longer than expected that day, so the board will discuss the possible change at an afternoon work session on Thursday, Jan. 4.
At the pre-Christmas work session, some representatives of towns showed up and sat in the audience and that may also be the case at the upcoming work session.
According to the Guilford County Tax Department, the department has the responsibility “to list, appraise, assess, bill and collect taxes on real and personal property each year,” and it strives to provide “excellent customer service” in that regard.
The department administers all property tax matters for 12 municipal jurisdictions, as well as 22 fire districts and a few special tax districts within the county.
Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis is pointing to the increased costs of collecting property taxes as one reason the county commissioners may wish to up the percentage charged.
There have been, for instance, greater costs in recent years for the aerial pictometry imagery used to find new structures and find changes to old ones. Other factors adding to increased costs for the department are more frequent countywide reappraisals and the necessity of adding more staff to handle tax collection.
While costs have increased, the percentage paid by the towns and cities hasn’t changed in well over a decade, and soon the commissioners will decide whether or not the service will be priced higher starting this year and, if so, how much higher.