County receives over 50% of general fund revenue from property taxes annually

Published 12:10 am Saturday, April 1, 2023

SALISBURY — Each year, over 50 percent of the general fund revenue Rowan County generates comes from property taxes, which includes real property taxes, business personal property taxes and motor vehicles taxes.

This far exceeds any other source of revenue the county’s general fund receives. The second highest source is sales tax, which usually comes in around 15 to 16 percent.

This year, the county’s general fund budget was almost $188 million with $94 million being generated by property taxes. Of that $94 million, about 78 percent of that cash — $73.3 million — is generated by real property taxes, which are taxes a person pays on their home. Eight percent comes from business personal property tax, five percent from public utilities tax and nine percent from motor vehicles tax.

The general fund covers a majority of the county’s operations such as landfill, solid waste, animal control, the health department, social services, emergency services, the airport, planning and zoning and parks and recreation, among others, according to Rowan County Manager Aaron Church.

But county officials are still working on what they will recommend to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners for next year’s proposed budget. The county manager’s office is currently meeting with different departments to discuss what they need.

“Right now we’re meeting with each individual department. The departments have done a lot of work and prepared lots of material and justification for every line, every dollar that they’ve requested to be spent,” Church said. “We sit and we go through all that in meetings with the departments and with the agencies. We talk about all their functions. We go by line by line. It takes months to do that.”

It’s still too early to tell if next year’s general fund budget will see an increase because the county’s tax rate has not been set yet.

The tax rate also needs to be calculated and voted on by the commissioners. The current tax rate is 65.75 cents per $100, according to the county’s 2023 final budget. Because real property taxes have increased, the commissioners have previously said they expect the next tax rate to decrease.

“To recommend what the tax rate is going to be it’s always in mid-May, the first of June when that’s done. It takes that long to get to that point,” Church said.