My Turn, Jim Sides: Commissioners hold key to how much your tax bill will change

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2023

By now, most property owners in Rowan County have received their new property values as a result of the recent reappraisal process. The county manager has indicated that values have increased across the county an average of 44.96%. I have heard of many whose values increased more than 60%. I guess I am one of the lucky ones as my values only increased 22%.

I understand that many are planning to appeal their values. That is certainly your right and I would not suggest otherwise. However, historical data during past appeals will prove that very little changes because of the appeals process.

I would like to give everyone some perspective on what these new values mean. I will not use exact figures, because they are not currently known. I will use actual figures when available, and very close figures elsewhere.

Please verify my calculations and feel free to contact me if I am in error.

The total value of all real property in Rowan County for the last budget year was $13.91 billion. With an average increase in value of 44.96%, the new total value of all real property increases to $20.16 billion. The previous value at the current tax rate of 65.75 cents per $100 value results in tax revenue for the county of roughly $91 million. The new value would result in tax revenue of roughly $132 million, or an increase in revenue of roughly $41 million. With these numbers, a reduction in the tax rate of 20 cents per $100 would be necessary to reach what is referred to as revenue neutral. This means, the county gets the same revenue from property taxes as last year.

However, revenue neutral will not guarantee that you will pay the same county taxes as last year, since revenue neutral is based on the average value increase of 44.96%. If your increase in value is 66%, your county property taxes will increase by 21% over last year. If your increase in value is only 22%, you would see a reduction in county property taxes over last year of 23%. These figures represent only what happens with county taxes. The same calculations would be necessary based on municipal rates last year versus this year. The outlook is not good either way for many property owners.

One other point to be made is this: even if the county goes revenue neutral on the tax rate, the various fire districts will not likely do the same. They will gain a windfall of revenue based on the new values. Even if you were so lucky as to be at the point of paying the same taxes as last year based on the newly established tax rate, you will likely have a tax increase because of the fire taxes.

There are numerous options available to the county commissioners to resolve this situation. I will not elaborate on them here. My guess is that they will reduce the tax rate by 5-6 cents/$100 and tell you what a favor they did you. Remember, this is not a reduction in taxes, it is merely a reduction in the tax rate. Appeal if you want, but your best appeal is to the commissioners who set the tax rate and actually spend your money. I am sure they are salivating over all this new money they will have to spend. Perhaps they don’t need to spend $30 million at West End Plaza. (You remember … the mall that I bought). Call them … email them.

Mike Caskey – 704-640-9678                                         when

Craig Pierce – 704-361-6337                                          

Jim Greene – 704-798-1452                                           

Judy Klusman – 704-798-4948                                       

Greg Edds – 704-202-5089


Jim Sides of  Salisbury is a former Rowan County commissioner.