New Home Values Mean Higher Taxes

FEBRUARY 24, 2006 -- For Peggy Millinor and her family, Surf City is home.

"We saved all our lives to live at the beach. When we moved down here we only had a telephone and electricity. There was no runnning water. It was strictly a fishing village," says Millinor.

But the land they bought decades ago is now worth more than they can pay taxes on.

"In one year it jumped from $192,000 to $630,000. It more than tripled."

Longtime residents say it's the large new houses being built that are raising property values in Surf City. That's why they say small home owners are being forced to sell. Some residents say they feel like they're being transplanted.

Onslow Chairman Delma Collins hopes that won't happen. He says commissioners want to lower the tax rate to offset the new appreciation values. But with a new jail and several school projects in the works, he says a revenue neutral rate will probably not be possible. The commissioners don't have to settle on a new tax rate until July 1.

Reported by Ashley Hayes