Brunswick County residents concerned about taxes as property values rise
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County is experiencing growing pains as the latest tax reassessment led some homeowners’ properties to rise in value by up to 75 percent.
“Ours went up 76 percent,” said Heather McCain, who checked her property value online after seeing a Facebook post about it on Monday. “That’s despite the fact that when this property was last assessed, it was attached to 5 more acres. They lowered our land value and raised our home value.”
Neighbors across the county are reporting similar stories — a major change in home value since the last reassessment four years ago.
In Calabash, Tommy Hall has kept an eye on the mailbox for his reassessment notice. Then, he found out he could check the results online.
“I was pretty surprised,” said Hall. “I was expecting something around $398,000. When I looked and the first digit you see is a four, I was like, ‘oh wow, this is pretty good.’”
On the other end of the county in Leland, the Joneses saw similar results.
“We were like ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe it, how much they’ve gone up,’” said Maggie Jones. “Then at work today, I was like ‘hey, have y’all looked at the new rates,’ and they were like ‘what are you talking about?’ Everybody’s went up a 100 thousand or more but the percentages are different. Ours was 37 percent, but we saw some that were 60 percent.”
While excited to see the higher numbers, they are also leery of the potential downside. What does this mean for property taxes?
“Your property tax bill is going to be affected by your county and your municipal tax rates that have not been set yet,” explained Meagan Kascsak, a spokesperson for Brunswick County. “We’re working on the budgets in the county and your municipalities.”
Brunswick County commissioners and leaders on the municipal level won’t vote on a budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year for another couple of months. Depending on what they decide, your property tax bill could go up, stay the same or even drop.
Brunswick County’s property tax rate has been 0.485 percent since 2019. Those taxes include real estate, motor vehicles, personal property and public service. It makes up more than 62 percent of the county’s annual revenue, with property taxes from real estate producing the most income of the four.
Those tax dollars go to a number of county services, so Hall says he won’t mind it if he ends up shelling over some extra cash.
“In Calabash, they have a senior citizens’ center,” said Hall. “I’ve been in there a couple of times. You know, I’d like to see some of the tax money going to that.”
While the Joneses are also happy to help make the county a better place to live, they know higher prices might not be good news for everyone.
“If $270,000 is the starter home price, that’s horrible for young people, first-time homebuyers and things like that,” said David Jones. “I don’t like that part of it. That bothers me that maybe they can’t get into a house, they’re going to have to live in an apartment and that’s a shame that they may not have homeownership down the road.”
Furthermore, if the reassessment does lead to some people seeing higher property tax bills this summer, it could cause problems for those on a fixed income.
“Those are definitely concerns we think about any year we’re doing a budget, regardless of if it’s a reevaluation year,” said Kascsak. “We’re always going to look year-to-year at how we can provide the services that our residents need while making sure that we’re at a tax rate that is a realistic and responsible tax rate for our community.”
Anyone with questions about the assessment is encouraged to contact the county’s tax department, especially if they feel a mistake may have been made during their reassessment.
The Joneses say they called the department Monday morning because the report incorrectly said their property had a generator, so making sure the county corrected that mistake will hopefully save them money.
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