Kinston City Council hikes property taxes, rescinds council pay raise

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Increasing property taxes and increasing pay for Kinston city council members were two big issues before the council meeting tonight.

They met to vote on their 2021/2022 budget Tuesday night but while they already approved the council salary raises, they discussed raising taxes for property owners.

When it came to the topic of the pay raises, they had already been approved so council had to decide whether to keep them, while at the same time consider raising taxes on property owners.

If you live in the city limits of Kinston, be prepared to pay 4 cents more per $100.00 on property taxes next year.

This comes out to $4.00 for every $10,000 worth of property.

Kinston City Council approved the property tax increase Tuesday night, saying the city is required to maintain a budget and with hurricanes, unfunded mandates and other situations the city has had to deal with this past year the increase to the property tax will help balance the budget.

Tommy Pressly has lived in his home for over 40 years and says he has no problem with the increase, as long as the services the money goes towards, like school districts, police and fire departments, road construction and other services continue to help the community.

Another hot topic was the already approved salary increase for council members.

Some members like Councilmen Hardy and Aiken were for the salary increase, while others like Councilmen Swinson, Suggs and Mayor Pro-tem Felicia Soloman were against it, but all councilmembers said they want to keep the community in mind when making this decision.

Councilman Hardy and Aiken both say they use a lot of their yearly salary from the city to donate back into the community.

In the end, council decided to rescind the increase, which would have added $3,600 a year to their salary of $7,200.

Mayor Pro-Tem Soloman said once the budget is balanced, sooner rather than later the city hopes to reduce the property taxes back to where they were.

Now that the budget has been approved, council will discuss specific allotments in July.

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