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Half of Rowan’s municipalities increase taxes

Rockwell and Granite Quarry are getting new fire trucks. China Grove is dealing with road construction. Kannapolis is picking up the salaries of 16 firefighters.
Those are among the reasons officials mentioned as they raised property tax rates in five of Rowan County’s 10 municipalities — China Grove, Granite Quarry, Kannapolis, Rockwell and Salisbury. Increases ranged from just under 2 cents per $100 valuation in Salisbury to 5 cents in Rockwell.
What does that mean? The owner of a $100,000 home in one of those towns can expect a municipal tax bill that’s $20 to $50 higher this year.
The good news: If you live in Cleveland, East Spencer, Faith, Landis or Spencer, your town property taxes are not going up this year.
The other news: Rowan County commissioners raised everyone’s county taxes 2.75 cents per $100 valuation, so all property owners are getting an increase of some kind. That would be another $27.50 on a $100,000 home.
Rowan is not alone. According to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, 21 counties of the state’s 100 counties are raising taxes this year.
The 2014-15 fiscal year used by local governments started July 1, and with it came changes in tax rates, water and sewer rates and fees.
Here’s a rundown:
China Grove’s property tax rate is going up 2 cents to 56 cents per $100 valuation due to the rising cost of fuel, utilities, road construction and the general cost of doing business, according to Ken Deal, town manager. The town does not charge fees for garbage or other services, so there are no increases there. And China Grove is the only municipality in the county that is actually decreasing water and sewer rates, going down 10 percent as the town phases out the higher rates it paid before turning its water and sewer system over to Salisbury-Rowan Utilities
Cleveland’s property tax rate is staying at 25 cents per $100, the lowest in the county. Its water rates are going up 7 percent; sewer rates and fees remain flat.
East Spencer has set its property tax rate at the same level as last year, 63 cents per $100. But Town Administrator Macon Sammons said the town board has not yet set other rates and fees for 2014-15. That decision will come at the board’s August meeting.
Faith has adopted the same tax rate as last year, 41 cents per $100, with no changes in rates and fees.
Granite Quarry has raised its property tax rate 2 cents — the new rate is 42 cents per $100 — to buy a new fire truck. The town’s solid waste fee is going up 50 cents a month; the new monthly rate is $11.
Landis is keeping its tax rate the same at 48 cents per $100 and raising water-sewer rates 2 percent. (The town buys water from Kannapolis, which is not raising rates, and Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, which has raised rates 2.45 percent.) Landis does not charge any other fees.
Kannapolis is raising its property tax rate 4 cents; the new rate is 60 cents per $100. Much of the increase will cover the salaries of 16 firefighters who were formerly paid with federal funds, City Manager Mike Legg said; that program has ended. The city is also building a new city hall and police station. Stormwater fees went up 30 cents a month for residential customers. Connecting to the city’s utilities also costs more now; the fee went up $150 for a water connection and $150 for a sewer connection. Legg said the connection fee increases were based on a cost analysis study related to the revenue bonds issued in fiscal 2014.
Rockwell’s property tax rate went up 5 cents; the new rate is 37 cents and still the second-lowest in the county. Town Clerk Sue Morton attributed the increase to buying a fire truck and new Christmas decorations. The town is not increasing any fees. Rockwell uses Salisbury-Rowan Utilities so water-sewer rates have gone up 2.45 percent.
Salisbury is raising its tax rate a little less than 2 cents — 1.95 cents per $100 valuation, to be exact. That makes the new rate 65.69 cents. Reasons for the increase included making up for the expiration of “transitional hold harmless” allocations the state has been making to about 100 cities, as well as the widening and addition of bike lanes to Newsome Road, sidewalks on Bringle Ferry Road and expanding public bus service to Wallace Commons and medical offices on Julian Road. City utility rates are up 2.45 percent and the monthly garbage fee has increased by $1, making the new rate $8.
Spencer’s property tax rate is staying level at 62.8 cents per $100. Also a Salisbury-Rowan Utilities customer, its water-sewer rates are going up 2.45 percent. Fees are unchanged.

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