Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said this week that he sees no reason at all for county residents to get a property tax increase next summer when the county adopts its new 2024-2025 fiscal budget. The chairman – the most powerful Democratic political leader in the county – said Guilford County government can fund its current operations and its plans for the coming fiscal year without the extra revenue that a property tax increase would bring.
Alston, who will be reelected chairman for another year in early December by his fellow commissioners, always gets his way given the current Democratic majority on the board; and, if he doesn’t want or see a property tax hike – which he does not – then there won’t be one.
One reason Guilford County government has enough money without raising taxes is that, when the value of all county property was reassessed in 2022, the Board of Commissioners kept the tax rate the same; however, the giant increase in assessed property values in last year’s reevaluation of all property in the county meant that the county government was pulling in $92 million more than it was before the revaluation.
That’s the reason why property owners saw 25 and 30 percent tax bill increases even though the tax rate remained the same.
When a Republican majority held control of the Board of Commissioners from 2012 until 2020, the board reduced the tax rate after revaluations to the “revenue-neutral level,” which meant that the county didn’t see a tax revenue increase as a result of the revaluation – and also meant the taxpayers didn’t see their property taxes increase.
That $92 million is a recurring amount of new revenue that the county now collects each year over and above the property tax revenue the county had been collecting prior to 2022.
Guilford County has been flush with money over the last few years thanks to federal and state pandemic relief funds, favorable sales tax revenues, millions in proceeds from a lawsuit settlement against the national opioid makers and distributors, and the $92 million extra that the county gets each year after not reducing the tax rate in the wake of the 2022 countywide property revaluation.