Stanly commissioners set tax rate, pass budget resolution
After much discussion at a budget workshop Monday, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners approved the new tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year and the budget amendment.
The tax rate for next year will be 61 cents per $100 of valuation.
County Manager Andy Lucas previously presented the budget with a recommended revenue-neutral tax rate of 61.11 cents. He mentioned a recommendation by the county’s tax office to make the rate a whole or half-cent number, like 61 or 61.5.
Chairman Bill Lawhon noted 61 cents may not be revenue-neutral to all residents, saying anything above 61 cents would in effect be a tax increase.
This year, the rate was 67 cents in a revaluation year when many properties have increased in value.
The tax rate passed 6-1 with Mike Barbee voting against it.
Before the vote, Barbee said he has been on the board for two years trying to decrease citizens’ tax rates.
“I’ll see companies coming in, and we sat back and gave big tax breaks for many years,” Barbee said. “I don’t see anything wrong with that…but we keep throwing back the tax burden on the citizens.”
Lucas noted many citizens in the county will see increased rates from their municipalities.
“We’re probably never going to be able to successfully lower taxes the way we would love to and still grow the county,” Commissioner Tommy Jordan said.
Barbee said tax rate increases could force people out of their own homes.
Commissioner Peter Asciutto asked about a North Carolina statute which citizens 65 and older could apply to get a break on property taxes. Lucas said the program, called the Property Tax Homestead Circuit Breaker Deferment, is based on a family’s income. The statute allows for a portion of property taxes on the appraised value of a home to be deferred.
With the rate of 61 cents and no increase in the West Stanly Fire Department tax, the 2021-22 budget resolution was approved unanimously by the commissioners.