May 22, 2013

The Dare County Budget: Separating
the wheat from the ‘shaft’ – Part 1

By SANDY SEMANS ROSS 


County-wide, property values have plummeted by approximately 30 percent since the last revaluation of property eight years ago. The slide has not been even across the county. The oceanfront has dipped more than the west side of the bypass. And Hatteras Island and Stumpy Point lost substantial value due to damage from Hurricane Irene, while Roanoke Island maintains much of its value.

There is not a single property that can be used as representative of the entire county.

Dare County’s proposed property tax rate, which if approved, will take effect July 1. Added to the revenue neutral rate of 39.75 cents per $100 dollars of property value is a tax increase of 3.25 cents bringing the total base tax rate to 43 cents per $100.

North Carolina law mandates that a revenue neutral rate be identified each time there is a revaluation of property. This is the rate that would generate the same amount of revenue used to support the previous budget. Included in the revenue neutral rate is a growth factor which is based on a formula provided in the state statutes.

County property taxes are applied county-wide, but property tax bills vary widely throughout both the unincorporated areas and in the municipalities as town tax rates, sanitation, and special tax district rates are added to the base rate.

The county provides sanitation services for Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores and the remaining four towns – Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and Manteo -- contract with other companies, but all include the sanitation cost in the towns’ tax rate.

The towns’ tax rate, when set and approved, will be added to the county property tax rate.

Property owners in unincorporated Dare County will receive bills with an assortment of taxes, all of which also have been set to revenue neutral rates. Sanitation tax will rise from the current 6.7 cents per $100 to 10.3 cents.

The proposed base tax of 43 cents plus the 10.3 cents will be throughout the unincorporated areas. In addition, those areas with special tax districts used to support community centers and fire departments also will be taxed for those items. Boards of Trustees set the budgets and submit requested tax rates for the community centers, and fire department boards of directors submit budgets and corresponding tax rates for consideration. Before submitting the budget and tax requests, all rates are reset to revenue neutral although they can be added to or decreased with county approval.

Avon property owners, if the county budget and corresponding tax rates are approved, will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 6.65 cents for the fire district, and .96 cents for the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad for a total of 60.91 cents per $100 of property value.

Buxton property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 8.19 cents for the fire district, and .96 cents for rescue for a total of 62.45 cents per $100. There is no community center.

Frisco property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 5.59 cents for the fire district, and .96 cents for rescue for a total of 59.85 cents per $100. There is no community center.

Hatteras village property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 6.34 cents for the fire district, .96 cents for rescue, and 8.21 cents for the community center for a total of 68.81 cents per $100.

Rodanthe property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 8.61 cents for the fire district and 3.06 cents for the community center for a total of 64.97 cents per $100.

Salvo property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 8 cents for the fire department and 3.06 cents for the community center for a total of 64.33 cents per $100.

Colington residents will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation and 11.91 cents for the fire department for a total of 65.21 cents per $100. The proposed budget declines Colington Volunteer Fire Department’s request for an increase to 13.41 cents.

Manns Harbor property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 7.03 cents for the fire department for a total of 60.33 cents per $100.

Martins Point property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 4.59 cents for the fire department for a total of 57.89 cents per $100. Martins Point is served by Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department, which also receives funding from the Town of Southern Shores.

Property owners in the unincorporated portions of the northern end of Roanoke Island will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation and 4.4 cents for the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire
Department for a total of 57.7 cents.  The fire department also serves Manteo via a contract with the town.

Property owners in unincorporated areas south of Manteo on Roanoke Island will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 4.4 cents for the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire
Department and 2.66 cents for the Wanchese Community Center for a total of 60.36 cents.

Stumpy Point property owners will pay 43 cents base, 10.3 cents sanitation, 9.62 cents for the fire department and 3.08 cents for community center for a total of 66 cents per $100.

Changes still may be made to tax rates before adoption of the county budget, but seem unlikely with only a little more than a month before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

 


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