Morehead City, N.C.
June 15, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
On Tuesday evening I attended the Morehead City Commissioners’ board meeting where several important measures were discussed and voted on by the board, with only a few comments from citizens who attended. The single vote that is going to affect every property owner in our town was the vote to raise our property tax rate from 35¢ per $100 valuation to 38¢ per $100. The commissioners, at least two of them and the mayor, made a point of repeating over and over again this tax increase is a “small one” only amounting to about $35 per year for those living in a home evaluated at $100,000. The other “justification” for the tax increase was that Carteret County will probably raise its rates next year thus “creating a real hardship on low income homeowners then”! Wow!
The above tax increases happened Tuesday with Commissioner Bill Taylor absent due to medical reasons, and because of his absence Mayor Jerry Jones was able to break a 2-2 tie between Harvey Walker and George Ballou on the “no” side and Keri McCann and Diane Warrender on the “yes” side.
Since the above events happened in front of a room full of people, maybe someone heard the board members who voted FOR the tax increase this year promise on the record to NOT increase our taxes NEXT year.
I left before the meeting adjourned so maybe I missed that, if it happened, which I seriously doubt since the absent member, Mr. Taylor, proposed a 3% increase this year AND 2% next year. All in all, it was a done deal well before the meeting Tuesday, as most of us who have watched these things happen will testify.
My understanding of the budget process this year is the board has met previously on this subject and a clear majority in those meetings was for the tax increase, by a three to two margin. Proof of that was in the letter from the absent Mr. Taylor expressing his views IN FAVOR of the tax increase which was read into the record by Mayor Jones.
The vigorous discussions we non-board members saw and heard had all been had in other less public settings before this final meeting. Mr. Walker and Mr. Ballou expressed genuine, in my opinion, concerns that increasing taxes this year was unnecessary and that sufficient un-allocated funds are on hand to meet the town’s needs at least until next year regardless of what the county may or may not do in terms of raising county property taxes.
It needs to be said that Mr. Walker is running for re-election this November and every fiscal conservative in Morehead City’s voting area should vote for him. I and my family will, for sure and certain. He and George Ballou consistently speak and act for the average residents of our town. Too bad that is not the case for all of our representatives.