Beaufort Co. Passes Property Tax Increase

The Beaufort County Commissioners voted 5 to 2 early Tuesday morning to approve a new budget that includes an increase in property taxes.

Officials say the new tax rate will be 53 cents per $100 valuation, starting July 1. The current rate is 50 cents per $100 valuation.

The increase is not as much as was recommended in the budget proposal submitted by County Manager Paul Spruill. That called for a 9.3% increase, of 55 cents per $100 valuation.

The tax rate for the 2009-2010 fiscal year was 60 cents per $100 valuation. After the revaluation in 2009, the property tax rate came down to 50 cents per $100 valuation, according to Commissioner Jay McRoy, though it still brought the same amount of revenue to the county. McRoy says state law requires them to undergo a property revaluation every eight years.

McRoy says Beaufort County never passed along expected property tax increases after voters approved a $33 million school bond in 2004. He says the county has absorbed the $2.6 million payment each year. However, the economy now no longer allows Beaufort County to handle that burden without the assistance of taxpayers, according to McRoy, after years of using the county's fund balance to make payments.

The property tax rate could come down if Beaufort County residents vote to approve a sales tax increase next year. During the primary voting in May 2012, Beaufort County residents will have the chance to vote on a quarter-cent sales tax increase. McRoy says that sales tax increase would put Beaufort County's sales tax at the same level as Pitt and Martin counties. If the sales tax referendum passes, that would bring the property tax down by 1.5 percent.

The budget also cuts funding to Beaufort County Schools, by $700,000. Half of the cuts are from the capital budget, the other half from operations. McRoy says the school system gets $14 million of the $25 million that property taxes bring into county coffers. Since it's such a large part of the budget, McRoy says it was difficult to avoid making cuts to the school system.

McRoy says he voted for the budget, along with Jerry Langley, Al Klemm, Robert Cayton, and Ed Booth. The opposing votes came from Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson.

The budget takes effect July 1.

Previous story:
Dozens of Beaufort County residents spoke out Monday night about what they say needs to be fixed in the proposed budget from the county manager for the fiscal year of 2012. The budget the county manger proposed would mean a 10% property tax increase.

A charged up crowd of Beaufort county residents pleaded their cases to county commissioners.

"S.O.S. means stop over spending, but I was really going to say stop stupid spending," said Beaufort county resident Dick Adams.

Adams says the commissioners' spending plan is for wants- not needs.The initial proposed county managers' 2012 budget is more than $50 million, which resident Charles Hickman says hits the pocket of the citizens of Beaufort county.

"They've got my attention, and to be honest, a lot people are really hurting in this economy right now and I know people who are really affected and its kind of sad," said Hickman.

Hickman says the tax increase along with the economy is adding more financial burdens to residents who don't have the money to begin with.

"With 10% unemployment- and its not a good time for a tax increase and especially following the one we just had," said Hickman.

After each commissioner laid out their plan, it came down to what money would be allocated to certain organizations or departments such as the arts council, sheriffs department, as well as the school system.

"What we are asking them to do and they're elected to do is run the business and not to be sugar daddies to everybody that comes along- every organization," said Adams.

Whatever way you look at it, its millions of dollars that have to be divided and allocated to run a county already struggling financially.

The meeting lasted late into Monday night.

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  • by frankly Location: bc on Jun 21, 2011 at 07:43 PM
    for years,it has been said,that if n.carolina was shaped like a horse, well you know which part of it's anatomy beaufort county would be.and if this particular part needed ointment the closest place they would find it would be in greenville.
  • by Lynda Location: Bath on Jun 21, 2011 at 06:42 PM
    Can anyone tell me the total value of property in Beaufort County before the last revaluation? I believe it was 5.1 Billion after revaluation. The tax rate was .60 per 100 and now is .53. It seems I remember our county commissioners saying they were going to keep the rate tax neutral. Somehow this is not working out if the value of property was increased by as much as I think it has been. Shame county commissioners.
  • by disgusted Location: NC on Jun 21, 2011 at 05:05 PM
    it's high time we elect some Comissioners that really represent the PEOPLE that pay them! They R NOT representing the PEOPLE of Beaufort County, If people R unemployed and able to barely hang onto their property and have to arrange payments on the taxes they can't afford now, what makes them think they can pay higher taxes? Will that group of people loose their homes to tax leins and then the ones that can pay now become the level that have to make payment arrangments? It's a NO WIN situation!!!IF the county is in such dire staights, WHY does the county spend so much money on frivilous things? and if U live in a city limit in THIS county, U R double taxed! BOOOOOOOOOO and shamed on Beaufort county!
    • reply
      by ? on Jun 21, 2011 at 05:47 PM in reply to disgusted
      Exactly what are the frivilous things the county spends money on?
      • reply
        by Biscuit on Jun 21, 2011 at 06:42 PM in reply to ?
        Giant fiberglass crabs.
        • reply
          by disgusted on Jun 22, 2011 at 05:40 AM in reply to Biscuit
          I agree Biscuit, and the Estuariam.
  • by Two Sure Things on Jun 21, 2011 at 03:32 PM
    Death and Taxes not necessarily in that order.
  • by ToDesertChief Location: Washington on Jun 21, 2011 at 03:26 PM
    Nice one Johnny Dean!!!
  • by Beaufort County Resident Location: Washington on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:48 AM
    So they tripled my house price and my taxes, went up on my homeowners insurance and health insurance, gas prices, food prices during a bad economy. Congraduation Beaufort now costs me $325 a month for taxes and insurance. This doesn't even include the house payment and the utilities. I guess a shack on the river is a mansion to the men of mayhem in the county.
  • by Just Rediculous on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM
    Dont move to tyrrell county.It 67 cent per $100.
  • by EMC member and Beaufort county tax payer on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM
    Yes I believe I would find a job at the local electric co-op if I had proposed that 2011-2012 budgets with tax increase. Wait a minute do you think my Tideland rates are going up?????
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jun 21, 2011 at 04:40 PM in reply to EMC member and Beaufort county tax payer
      Oh yeah! Obama made it clear that gas, oil and utilities would go up so Barlow could breathe better. thirty percent on electricity so we can distribute our wealth to other countries and create jobs there. Remember the guy that ran on taxing those making over 250 K...well, they had other ways of fleecing us without out income tax...cost of living. The funny thing to me, is all those hope and change people didn't realize what that meant. I am sure the windmills are whoping and the solar panels are producing....I am sure Barlow and Lavon have both on their houses now......
      • reply
        by Ha Ha on Jun 21, 2011 at 05:19 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        You don't even get what the poster is saying. We get it - You do not like Obama.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Jun 22, 2011 at 12:41 PM in reply to Ha Ha
          I know you feel like a fool now...he really zinged you. How is the pay cut going fer ya?
      • reply
        by Obama is pulling out! Bush Said Mission Accomplished!!! on Jun 21, 2011 at 09:57 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        Are we distributing our wealth to the billion dollar war that Bush Jr. started. But then again, Saudi Arabia didn't fly no planes into the world trade center. So why did the attention shift from Afghanistan to where Bush Sr. started his legacy?????
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jun 22, 2011 at 12:40 PM in reply to Obama is pulling out! Bush Said Mission Accomplished!!!
          Well, Obama is a little slow making decisions, I am sure the sweet little terrorists will be dancing in the streets..
      • reply
        by hey obama soc on Jun 22, 2011 at 02:57 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        missed you yesterday
  • by Donald Dixon Location: Washington on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM
    I noticed a total lack of interest by many of the commissioners at the meeting last night, they knew what they were going to do before it started. I saw Chf Dpty Harry kissing up to commissioners in the hallway and then the commissioners embracing EDC. I knew a blind eye and deaf ear would control this budget meeting. To those who think "Oh, they have a hard job", or "a tax increase is needed"... open your eyes. This battle isn't about the amount of a tax increase, it's about ANY increase. We don't need an increase at all, IF they had the stones to cut the waste! It is time to remove those that were blinded by greed and ignorance, REMEMBER this the next time they are up for election, I will. (I'm just sorry we're stuck with Klemm until 2014).
  • by Beaufort County Tax Payer Location: On Time 100% of the Time on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM
    Human Services at $14.9 MILLION per year?????? Who is using this- the 19.3% of the counties population??? What has been created is a system that will force people to move away. If you want to see a case study look at Hyde county.

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