Meck County Commissioners to decide: property tax hike or not - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Meck County Commissioners to decide: property tax hike or not

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Commissioners in Mecklenburg County have a crucial decision to make tonight. Should home owners be forced to pay 2.35 cents more in property taxes?

Someone who owns a home worth $200,000.00 would see their tax bill increase about $47 dollars more a year.

The three Republican commissioners, and the Chair of the Board - a Democrat - are not happy with the budget that is up for a vote tonight.

"I think folks are still smarting from 2011 revaluations" says Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour. "The city is raising taxes. Duke Energy is going to raise their fees. Storm water fees are going up and now we have Mecklenburg County looking at raising taxes."

Democrats on the Board say they don't want to increase the tax rate but believe it is necessary so the County can continue to pay for current services.

Commissioner Ridenhour says he thinks his colleagues on the Board should revisit the Budget.

"Well we could defer the vote. I'd be in favor of that. It could give us more time to look over the budget" Commissioner Ridenhour says.

But Commissioner Kim Ratliff - a Democrat - says she does not support postponing the vote. She says the straw vote that was done last week worked the way it was supposed to. Commissioners reviewed the County Manager's proposed budget and made changes.

At the end of the straw vote last week, Commissioner lowered the proposed property tax increase from 2.5 cents to 2.35 cents.

Republican Commissioner Bill James says he will likely make a substitute motion for the budget.

James tells WBTV he will Commissioners could change the budget tonight and get rid of the tax rate increase. He says his motion is to approve the budget with a flat tax rate – basically keeping the same existing rate of 79.2 cents.  He says Democrats will still be able to fund the programs they want.

"And it does that by taking money out of the fund balance – which is the county savings account, and out of certain other reserves for lack of better description" says Commissioner James.

When it comes to money and tax increases, James says he does not believe the county should be asking residents for more.

"Most important thing to me is keeping the tax rate the same so tax payers are not burdened by extra layer of cost at time we've had this massive revaluation problem," says James.

The Board of County Commissioners meeting started at 6 o'clock.

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