With home values soaring, the city manager’s proposedbudget slightly lowers the city’s tax rate — but many homeowners will still see higher tax billsdue to this year’s countywide property revaluation.
City Manager Marcus Jones’ proposed budget, presented Monday night, would increase city spending to $2.6 billion over the next year, with the tax rate set at “revenue neutral.” Higher property values allow a government to collect the same amount of tax revenue after a revaluation under a lower, revenue-neutral property-tax rate.
Over the next year, many homeowners and businesses will likely still pay more in taxes. How much more depends on whether the change in their new tax value falls above or below the county average.
Still, Jones said, the proposed city tax rate is the lowest it has been in 50 years. And, according to Jones, Charlotte’s tax rate — 34.81 cents per $100 assessed value — would be the lowest among North Carolina’s 10 largest cities.
The owner of a home with a $250,000 tax value would pay $870.25 in city property taxes.
Jones said earlier Monday he hopes his budget helps avoid a “double whammy” for property owners who may be facing sticker shock over home tax bills.
Last week, Mecklenburg County leaders discussed raising taxes in a spending plan that would see about 65 percent of homeowners and 70 percent of commercial land owners paying more than they do now. County Manager Dena Diorio proposes a tax rate of 61.69 cents per $100 of tax assessed value — about 2 cents higher than the rate the county would need to remain revenue neutral.
Homeowners and others will receive their property tax bill in July.
Jones’ budget for Charlotte would give city employees raises — a minimum of $2,080 a year — send an additional $2 million to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for officer training and allocate more than $55 million in this year’s budget toward creating and saving affordable housing.
This would be in addition to several major spending plans already underway to support affordable housing, he said. Last November, voters approved borrowing $50 million via Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund, which subsidizes low-income housing construction and renovation. Another $13 million annually from federal tax dollars goes toward community organizations that provide rental assistance and other housing help, Jones said.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. The City Council has scheduled a possible vote on the budget for June 10.
Mayor Vi Lyles on Monday said the budget overview aligns with the city’s goals to be more inclusive and equitable and that she wants community feedback to ensure taxpayers feel Charlotte’s spending priorities meet their needs.
Here are more details from Jones’ proposal:
▪ A raise of $2,080 per year for hourly employees by increasing the hourly wage by $1 in 2019. Higher-wage earners, making $70,000 or more, would see a 3% salary increase. Previously, the city budgeted for all employees to receive a 3% raise. But under this year’s proposal, Jones said, the lowest-paid employees would get a bigger boost.
“The objective here is to move them up in terms of upward mobility,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is put more resources toward our lowest paid employees.”
▪ Charlotte Water rates would increase by 3.4%, or about $2.21 per month for the average customer. Residents would also pay $12 more per year in solid waste fees, which includes more crews for services like curbside trash, recycling, yard waste and bulky item pickup.
▪ Both Charlotte Fire employees and CMPD police officers would receive raises, based on their positions and experience, and firefighters would see more contributions to their retirement plans.
▪ Expanding a recruitment and workforce development program to provide 50 Charlotte residents training, each year, with the intent of hiring them for entry-level jobs with city departments. Jones said the training program is designed to help people who have never had a job or have “barriers” to employment, such as a criminal record.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article misstated how the county average property value change after revaluation will affect future property tax bills.