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.

FRANK BRITT

(12) comments

David Collins

The folks in MHC elected each and every one into office. Their job is to take charge, make the tough decisions and act on them. That is it. Never going to win a popularity contest but that goes with the territory. Am quite sure that there is a grand plan out there that not all can be privy to. Isn’t there ?

Core Sounder

Gov is always looking for ways to get more money from its citizens be it town level or Fed level. The towns will not stop spending until there is a cop on every street corner or a fancy fire station within 1/2 mile of one another.

NC-Native-Son

We get what we pay for. Carteret has the lowest tax rate in the state and cannot fund public schools adequately. I believe that taxes would be more fair if land and structures were taxed at different rates. That way, folds would not be priced out of their dwelling because the next door neighbor builds a $500,000 house.

Core Sounder

Might have the lowest tax rate in the State but is by far not one of the lowest property taxes paid. Carteret county has a higher Median Property Tax than do 63 other counties in this State. The problem is that our county appraises property at a much higher price than most other counties which makes up pay much more in property taxes. But I must admit it does sound good when our county commissioners keep informing us that we have the cheapest tax rate in the State.

beachmami13

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] If I could put three million thumbs up for your comment, I would. It is INSANE what houses are valued at - and based on being "close to water." It seems like they overvalue the houses so that no one realizes how much taxes are. Everyone thinks their house is worth "so much," but so many houses also sit on the market for months and years because they are trying to sell it for "what it's worth." The more houses that are built may eventually change this overvaluation if this area gets overbuilt & the houses aren't sold.

00rolf

3 cents from 35 to 38 is not 3% increase. It is 8.5%. Learn the math. Oh, don’t bother, math is not important...

NC-Native-Son

More than once and in more than one county, in the years that a republican board told me that they were cutting the tax rate, I always got an increase and never met the person who got a cut.

David Collins

Could be wrong but if you do some checking Republicans do not have a lock on raising taxes . Democratic run cities and states have proven to be the tax increase kings. Gotta pay for all those freebies somehow and buy those votes . Definitely, buy those votes .

Drime

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Drime

Take care of the older and poorer neighborhoods in the city also , they have been paying taxes a long time . It appears to me that some of the older areas of town are being put on the back burner . Take notice how the streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters are maintained on the south side of the railroad tracks through town ,but south of the tracks only certain areas get the attention from the city . The city recently replaced a sewer line in front of my property. I asked if curb and gutter was going in because we have had bad drainage for years . I was told no the city did not put curb and gutters in older neighborhoods anymore. Well at least we were getting new pavement what a joke !!! It looks better but now water ponds on one side of the road for days after any rain . Then there is the sewer odor ,17 homes in our neighborhood have a issue with this . And the City wants us to pay more in TAXES !!!!

David Collins

When property re-evaluation time comes about and the values rise, as they always seem to do , the rates are usually reduced . That scheme somehow is calculated to make increased taxes taste better to those affected . Just one of life’s little irritations .

Boroexpat

BeachMami13. Most recent statistics I could find show the average time on market for a house listed in Carteret County was 82 days (Jan 2019). As of May 2019 sellers were getting 98.2 percent of the asking price in real estate transactions. So the real estate market is healthy and the cost of real estate, particularly on the water, is retaining value and actually increasing. The high values are the cost of living in paradise. Truth is many of our residents are able to fund schools at a higher rate, many just prefer not to.

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