## My Turn, Jim Sides: Property tax rates and how your bill may change

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2023

By Jim Sides

I was happy to see that my previous letter in the Salisbury Post, regarding the recent Rowan County property tax revaluation (March 14), has generated a response from the county tax assessor.

As I stated in my previous letter, my figures were not exact due to certain information not being available to me at the time. My calculations were based on figures presented by a previous article with comments from the Rowan County manager. Since we now have better figures to work with, I would like to present some examples of what real estate taxes would be on various properties with a revenue neutral tax rate. If the tax base for this year has increased by 28.5%, then it stands to reason that a 28.5% reduction in the tax rate would be necessary to reach revenue neutral.

The current tax rate is 65.75 cents per \$100. A 28.5% reduction would result in a tax rate of 47.01 cents  per \$100. Assuming the tax rate went revenue neutral and appraised values remained at the new valuations, let’s look at some examples of what would happen for certain property owners:

Commissioner 1

Last year value this year value

\$399,160    \$588,035

Last year’s tax this year’s tax

\$2,624                                \$2,764

Last year fire tax              this year fire tax

\$349                                  \$514

Last year total             this year total

\$2,973                               \$3,278

\$305 increase

Commissioner 2

Last year value this year value

\$412,762                            \$578,407          Last year’s tax this year’s tax

\$2,713                               \$2,719

Last year fire tax              this year fire tax

\$386                            \$541

Last year total             this year total

\$3,099                               \$3,260

\$161 increase

Commissioner 3

Last year value this year value

\$497,819                           \$721,113

Last year’s tax this year’s tax

\$3,273                               \$3,389

Last year fire tax              this year fire tax

\$448                                 \$649

Last year total             this year total

\$3,721                             \$4,038

\$317 increase

Jim Sides

Last year value this year value

\$232,795                           \$319,048

Last year’s tax this year’s tax

\$1,530                               \$1,499

Last year fire tax              this year fire tax

\$209                                  \$287

Last year total             this year total

\$1,739                               \$1,786

\$48 increase

Anyone could plug in their old and new values and perform these same calculations to get an idea of how their real property taxes would change this year. I did find one house, valued at over \$3 million where their taxes could go down as much as \$14,000 based on revenue neutral.

Several things I would like for you to keep in mind:

(1) these calculations deal only with real estate value;

(2) these calculations are only true with a revenue neutral rate of 47.01 cents;

(3) revenue neutral does not affect fire district tax rates;

(4) these calculations are only for real estate taxed by Rowan County alone and do not apply to property located in a municipality as well;

(5) municipalities may not decide to go revenue neutral on their tax rate;

(6) Rowan County may decide not to go completely revenue neutral on the tax rate, which would result in taxes being higher than those calculated;

(7) there are other factors involved than those discussed here, which could affect the revenue neutral rate and the calculations as well;

(8) I would project it highly unlikely the county will go revenue neutral. Feel free to challenge my calculations and point out any errors or misjudgments.

You are entitled to a personal, on-site, review of your property. You simply need to request it. You are entitled to appeal your new values. I encourage you to do so. The tax assessor has indicated the possibility of \$831 million in adjustments. This is about a 4% adjustment, so your chances are about 1 in 25 (I would peg them at less) of winning an appeal. Go for it.

Jim Sides lives in Salisbury and is a former Rowan County commissioner. Contact him at jim.sides@yahoo.com