Taxes increasing $100+ a month for more than 23,000 Mecklenburg property owners

Taxes increasing $100+ a month for more than 23,000 Mecklenburg property owners

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - More than 23,000 Mecklenburg County property owners will see their monthly tax bill increase by more than $100 month after the county’s recent round of property revaluation, according to new data and maps created by Mecklenburg County and obtained by WBTV through a public records request.

The data shows that there are 23,355 property owners that will be receiving a tax bill that is more than $100 a month greater than the one that arrived last year.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners were given heat maps and property value data showing which areas would be most impacted after the the county assessor completed the 2019 property revaluation and county commissioners, city and town councils, and other elected bodies set the FY2020 tax rate.

In some areas like Villa Heights and Cherry, assessed property values tripled even if little to no work was done on the homes. Some homeowners WBTV spoke with say they are faced with a choice of selling their homes because the impending property tax bill increase is too much to afford on their fixed income.

Wayne Davis sold his home on Virginia Avenue partially because of the taxes and partially because of the offers from developers.

“We were living in an older house in Plaza Midwood and the prices are going up on everything the taxes kept going up on everything,” Wayne Davis, who moved from Plaza Midwood last year, said.

“We had so many offers from realtors wanting to buy our other place and telling us it was just a knock down,” Davis said. “Honestly it’s just the land value and the place where it’s at.”

County Assessor Ken Joyner largely echoed Davis’ assessment. He said when properties in these neighborhoods are selling for $200,000 or more only for the home to be torn down, it creates a new value for the land.

“Land near the uptown area is increasing whether it’s commercial or residential,” Joyner said. “If the lot next to you sold for $300,000 and they tore the structure down and built a new property the new buyer basically paid $300,000 for the land.”

Along Duncan Avenue in Villa Heights, the land is valued at $200,000 a parcel. In 2014 the land and house combined for many of the properties was assessed at $90,000 or less.

Many people on Duncan have sold and moved. Homeowner Kenneth Rayford guessed he’s one of maybe three or four left from before the neighborhood started gentrifying. Across the street from him there’s an empty lot. Up the block there are small billboards advertising a new community with homes starting in the $400,000′s. Rayford’s home, once valued at $78,000 is now assessed at $300,000.

But Rayford and many others aren’t interested in moving and they feel that the homeowners who’ve already sold are being low-balled.

There are options available to help low-income seniors afford these new property taxes. Meckleburg County has a elderly/disabled exemption that cuts the taxable value of your property by 50 percent.

Joyner said nearly 5,500 homeowners are part of that program.

County Commissioner Mark Jerrell said he plans on holding meetings for homeowners to make sure they know about the exemption and the City of Charlotte’s Aging in Place program. But he said the tax relief that is available isn’t enough.

“Right now state statute really limits counties in regards what we can do to provide tax relief,” Jerrell said. “Tax abatement’s are illegal, we can’t use those, so we have got to be really, really creative.”

Even the homeowners who are using the exemption are still likely to see their property taxes increase dramatically in proportion to what they were paying before.

For example, one property owner on Woodside Avenue paid $374 in county property taxes in 2018 with the exemption. The same property in 2019, even with the exemption in place, will cost $1,024 in county property taxes.

Wayne Davis was looking at a similar increase at his home in Plaza Midwood. He moved to Country Club Heights, which will still see a general increase of more than $80 per month in property taxes.

Davis’ story is far from unique.

WBTV spoke with another homeowner in the Villa Heights area who said she was selling now because of the new property tax bill.

Homeowners who appeal their value to the Board of Equalization have had some success. More than 26,000 property owners have filed an informal appeal with the board and 65% of them are already closed.

Joyner says his office has granted roughly $2 billion in decreases from original values, about 1% of the total property value in Mecklenburg County.

“The review process is really about getting those values to where they are supposed to be and making sure that they have the tax base correct and we’re not overvaluing,” Joyner said.

But the adjustments on residential properties are not drastic.

At this point, without an exemption, the property tax bills aren’t likely to change much between now and the day they arrive in the mail.

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