fr firecallsJackson County’s elected leaders will be have a big decision to make over the coming month: to levy a fire tax forcing property owners in lower-value areas of the county to pay higher bills or watch local fire departments continue to struggle with old equipment and insufficient manpower.

When Haywood County gets stiffed on property taxes, it carries a big stick of last resort: the foreclosure.

But since the real estate bust, it’s not been as handy as it once was.

fr maconrevalIt’s been two weeks since new property values hit the mailboxes in Macon County, but there’s nary a line to be seen at the county property appraisal office.

Only 400 appeals have trickled in so far. The last property revaluation in Macon County saw a whopping 4,000 appeals.

Macon County’s tying up the loose ends on a property revaluation that will likely cause tax hikes for some and breaks for others, and the county’s tax director gave commissioners a heads up that they’ll probably be getting some phone calls over the next few months. 

It wasn’t the first time Swain County Manager Kevin King had to tell his commissioners that the numbers were off on the Solid Waste Fund. But this month he added an asterisk of oomph. 

“This is probably one of our worst years so far,” King said, explaining that the fund had a $100,000 deficit. 

When a property tax bill for the old town hall building showed up in the Town of Franklin’s mail, John Henning, the town’s attorney, was surprised. The bill called for a payment of $2,872.22 on a property that Henning said, as a piece of public property, should be exempt from property tax. 

fr classwarfareTax reform was one of the top issues tackled by the new Republican majority in Raleigh last year, but voters hitting the polls this election season don’t yet know whether they’ve come out ahead or behind, since the changes don’t come into play until next April’s tax returns.

State issues are trickling down to the election debate surrounding the Macon County commissioners’ races. Three of the five seats are open, bringing out a total of six candidates looking for a place on the board. Chief among the topics of discussion surrounding the race are education funding, how to prioritize spending in the wake of the real estate bust and what stand, if any, the county should take on fracking. 

Saddled by a higher cost of doing business and hits to its bottom line, Waynesville aldermen were poised to pass a three-cent property tax increase this week, the town’s first in over a decade.

Nonetheless, the town’s total budget for the coming year will still shrink slightly — dropping from $30 million to $29.7 million. 

Consumers will start seeing some extras added to their subtotals as a result of a state law adding sales tax to a variety of items that had previously not been taxed, or were taxed at a lower level. Among them are mobile and manufactured homes, electric bills and “service contracts,” which is basically a catch-all entailing labor costs for everything from car repairs to plumbing. 

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