Editorial: How did revaluation look in rural areas?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Across Rowan County, we’ve heard talk of flat or lower tax rates, in part, because of revaluation that produced higher tax values.

Rowan County passed a budget Monday that slightly lowers the tax rate. Salisbury City Manager Lane Bailey has recommended a small tax rate decrease, too. Granite Quarry and Landis are examples of towns where the governing board is looking at keeping rates flat.

But what exactly does revaluation’s results look like across Rowan County, particularly in unincorporated areas?

Volunteer fire department district tax values are one way to see where growth in tax values or economic growth in general is occurring or not. The values reflect increases in tax values produced by revaluation, a process that occurs every four years, as well as new growth.

Judging by tax values of individual fire districts, areas of Rowan closest to Charlotte were the fastest growers.

Perhaps because of increasing tax values, all but three fire districts did not request a rate increase this year.

Among volunteer fire department districts, the fastest grower is projected to be Enochville in southwestern Rowan. The district’s estimated tax valuation from the 2019 fiscal year to 2020 increased by 11.87% — from $289.39 million to $323.75 million — according to the tax assessor’s office.

Second was Rockwell Rural, which saw its estimated valuation climb by 11.59% — from $585.46 million to $653.3 million.

In third was the East Landis Fire District, which is estimated to grow by 11.39% — from $59.99 million to $66.83 million — according to tax assessor.

However, it’s curious that East Landis was simultaneously one of the most significant beneficiaries of this year’s revaluation and one of the departments requesting to increase its tax rate. Rowan County commissioners denied the rate increase, and that was the right move.

Fourth was the West Rowan Fire District, which covers Mount Ulla and parts of Rowan close to the Iredell County border. Fifth was Atwell, which covers the far, southwestern section of Rowan.

The trend in tax value growth lends credence to the belief that areas closest to Charlotte will see economic growth first. To some extent, Rockwell Rural is an outlier, but it’s not entirely surprising because of housing development happening in that area.

Meanwhile, the West Rowan Fire District contains some Mooresville suburbs. So, as Mooresville grows, so do parts of far western Rowan County.

Woodleaf was the only fire district to see a decrease in tax values. Its total valuation was estimated decrease by 6.25% from the 2019 to 2020 fiscal years. As part of its budget approval Monday night, commissioners allowed a half-cent tax rate increase in Woodleaf.