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New program is helping pay Mecklenburg County property taxes

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 7:32 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC -(WBTV) - Paying for property taxes in Mecklenburg County can be a struggle for some. The revaluation has caused some people’s taxes to increase a lot.

Colette Forrest used to pay $1,000 now she has to pay $3,000. Forrest says with her child participating in remote learning - that money could be used elsewhere to support the household.

“I’m living in a tremendous gentrified community,” Forrest said. “My property tax is $3,000 so that can make or break remote learning instruction for my son - that could make or break some tech assistance with my son’s laptop.”

A new county program called The Homes Program started back in September. It gives money to homeowners in need of assistance.

The county budgeted $250,000 to help people afford to stay in their homes. Grants are in the amount of up to $340. So far only $32,494 of the money has been used. Forrest applied and received the grant but is concerned others may not know about the help.

“It’s sad,” Forrest said. “But people don’t know. They got to do a better job of marketing it to the masses and I know that COVID and the pandemic have hurt because the normal places like the church or the Park and Rec are not available, but they got to be creative.”

Neal Dixon is with the County Tax office. He says so far 292 people have applied, 95 were approved, 137 were not approved, and 60 applications are in process.

Income, tax status, and residency are part of the qualifications. Dixon says getting the word out about the program has been a challenge but says so far so good.

“It’s going well,” Dixon said. “This is the first year of the program. What typically happens with that in that initial year that you are communicating out to the community...it takes a little while for awareness to increase, but as far as this year, we feel like we are scoring well and hope that this will continue.”

The county has extended deadlines and changed the rules when it comes to income to allow more people to apply.

The county will now look at applications that were denied and give homeowners a second chance.

“What’s going to happen is that those who have applied and were not granted the amount associated with the program,” Dixon said. “They are going to be re-evaluated to see if this shift in the income threshold will change denial to approval so that work’s being done now. That could increase in addition to just making it more accessible for anyone who has yet to apply.”

Money that is not used will return to the county’s fund balance. The new deadline to apply for this grant is Nov. 30. For more information to apply click here.

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