Tax Revolt?

Property Tax Revolt I ran across the yard sign pictured at left quite a few times as I was driving through central Orange County today, particularly plastered along the strip-mall section of Hillsborough along Churton St between the two interstates. Something tells me these folks aren't interested in "revolting" by lobbying their state representatives to allow us to utilize alternative revenue options. Does anyone have any insight about the story behind the signs? Is this a grassroots effort or is there an existing anti-tax group sponsoring this?



Davepr referred to 85 pct of the county tax base as residential.  I've always heard that the statistic is either about 20 pct or 25 pct non-residential, depending upon which category, residential or commercial, one inserts large apartment complexes.  That's in the state-wide context of 30+ percent.But every 45 minutes for the last 20 years that I have heard a supporter of more commercial growth promote increasing the amount of commercial growth as our savior, I think of Mary Todd Lincoln.Well, aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?Since that reference is somewhat obtuse, I'll explain.  Just like Mrs. Lincoln found the play irrelevant, this taxbase figure is also irrelevant.  In the peak of NC's  poster-child company town, Kannapolis, it would be ridiculous to do an ecomic summary of Kannapolis that excluded Fieldcrest-Cannon Mills.  Similarly it is equally meaningless to calculate a summary of CH-Orange that excludes UNC and UNC Health Care.  The UNC and hospitals campus is, excluding highways, the state's single largest physical project.  Sure, UNC doesn't list a tax base and doesn't pay prop taxes, but it does provide about 17K jobs in a town of 54K, county of 125K.  Since I'm on a roll, I'll tell one more story.  During the late 90s, the Chamber of Commerce adopted a goal to increase the commercial tax base from 20 pct to 25 pct, and presented this goal to the town council.  It all sounded great,  but they forgot to do the math.  To achieve that goal, we would have to build 2.2 new downtowns (from Henderson to the Carrboro line along Franklin and Rosemary and their connecting streets) or to build about a dozen new University Malls, all while building zero new residential.  Faced with these numbers, the Chamber backed off.I'm all for the Chamber promoting commerce -- that's their function.  But get realistic guys, we are a company town of education and health care.  It's what we do, we do it very well, and it's why people come here.  In my career I have visited about 150 med school in the U.S. and abroad and have come to appreciate the widespread fame that CH enjoys.  As the director of the Stanly County-Albermarle Chamber once said to me, Chapel Hill is unique in NC at it makes no sense to apply the statewide metrics to it.  

Joe,  I definitely agree with you on the ways in which this community differs from its neighbors, especially the employment in research and the value of that funding to the economy here.     The only thing I would like to add is that, while the payroll is extremely important to the overall economic health of this  community, we don't have a local income tax.  Our local government budgets are funded only by property and sales taxes.  That's why I continue to beat the drum about those two things.  They are not the only things that contribute to a healthy economy, but they are the only things that fund a  healthy government budget.   So,  converting  a higher percentage of the dollars earned in this county into dollars spent in this county by providing goods and services that our residents and commuting workers  want, as well as having a better mix of residential versus non residential property has to be a priority.   Additionally we need  well paying jobs that don't require 4 year degrees, and some of those I would hope would come housed in  new structures that would pay taxes and again, help diversify the tax base.    

Joe, your characterization of the town probably would have been accurate 25 or even 15 years ago, but most of those 17,000 people you mention who work at UNC don't live or pay taxes in this town or county.  The symbiosis between town and gown has all but disappeared because of the disparity between high local real estate prices and relatively low UNC staff and faculty salaries.  Most people who live in this town are not dependent on the university for their livelihoods, and most people who work for the university cannot afford to live in this town.  We'll never go back to the sleepy college town era, but some kind of balance needs to be restored or both the community and the university will suffer.

Actually, most of those employed by UNC do live here as do thousands of grad and post doc students who are often employed by UNC.

Kirk,When I say most I'm usually referring to much greater than even a simple majority.  The link you referred to shows that only 37% of UNC faculty & staff live in Chapel Hill.  I'd hardly call that most.  I think Jim's statement still stands.

While there may be a portion of UNC fac/staff who live in the Chapel Hill section of Durham, I suspect there is a very significant portion of the "Chapel Hill" population that actually lives in Orange County, like I do. The Chapel Hill zip code extends over most of southern Orange County and even includes a portion of Chatham County. George's 37% sounds more accurate (although still a bit high) than the 55% showing in the IR table. I'm also skeptical that there are "thousands" of grad students and post docs living within the city limits of Chapel Hill, but I do not believe there is a way of verifying that statement since IRs data is based solely on zip code. 

Don't think this is zip code based. The Durham number is the City of Durham not the county of Durham. Even the Chapel Hill folks in Durham County pay Chapel Hill taxes.On your other point, the grad numbers are available in U.S. census data.  One fun fact: more grad students and post docs live in Carrboro than Chapel Hill.

since 2000 when the US Census data was collected on grad students. I still believe IR used zip codes, but even if they didn't, there are tons of folks in my neighborhood (southern Orange County, Carrboro planning district) who still think they live in Chapel Hill simply because that is our mailing address. Which makes any self-report highly suspect in my mind.

"but most of those 17,000 people you mention who work at UNC don't live or pay taxes in this town or county"Also, remember to include a best guess at the number Orange Durhamites and Mebanese. It is close, I'd say. And the numbers in the list do not seem to include the hospital. 

Would like to see the numbers on how many UNC faculty/employees live in Durham and how many Duke faculty/employees live in Chapel Hill.  Just a thought.

If everyone in Orange County agreed that we didn't want our taxes increased, what mechanism would we use to get anywhere close to an agreement on what goes on the chopping block?  If you have ever sat through a budget meeting of the BoCC, then you know how passionate speaker after speaker is for the support of, or even an increase of their budget line.  I know I was on my issue.All over this nation we will be making tough choices about cutting things in part or in whole because we just can't afford to do all we have been doing.  The rural/urban back and forth just in this thread is a testament to how difficult it will be to change our spending trends.  Not one thing in our budgets lack a constituency.  Unless and until we come to a meeting of the minds on deciding on how to arrive at a "greater good" budget that we can afford, our prospects are dim indeed.

Back in the 90's I served on the County Recreation advisory committee. Each of my 6 years the County would want to send  a few of the volunteers to Greensboro for a two day conference and put you up for the night in a hotel. I never attended and spoke out that this was a waste of taxpayer money. I began to look into what the County spent on travel and profressional dues. That is an area to begin cutting, as is the case with most private companies when they look for budget saving areas. I agree that this is not a large amount of the budget but you have to start somewhere.Another area is the outside groups asking for taxpayer dollars. There is always more requests than dollars, but the question I have is how long should you fund a group?  Why not set a target date for a group to attain non-taxpayers dollars to fund them so the government can fund other needs?Lastly I have attended a number of budget hearings and you are right Mr. Black concerning the speaker after speaker talking about their interest area. I wonder how much our elected officials get out of these sessions because the message is the same once you have heard from 2 speakers for the same cause.

... well, I'd like to say I attended, but, I wasn't able to even get in.  The far-past-capacity crowd was mostly turned away by the Fire Marshall."How convenient.  I wonder who called him? " asked more than one jaded observer.  "Doesn't the Fire Marshall work for the County?" quipped another.Instead, I stood in a line that went two and three deep from the door of the Barn all the way down to Churton Street!!  There were easily 300 people and probably twice that, if I consider the distance and depth of the crowd.What I head in that line was a very angry and frustrated bunch of people.  I saw people from Meadowmont, Damascus Church, Bowden Road, as well as folks from Schley, and nearby neighborhoods like Cornwallis Hills.  And that was just people that I know or overheard.  So claims that this turnout was expected, given the locale, need to be viewed with great scepticism. No media was present, also conveniently, to chronicle the huge crowd.  The massive column stood in line for over 20 minutes before organizers were able to distribute pads of paper so people could sign in, even if the bulk of attendees were not able to come inside and hear the speakers. In general, I believe that my assessment of the gross tactical miscalculation of the BoCC is 100% on target.  For those who look toward future spending largesse in Hillsborough, I believe that gravy train has come to a permanent halt.  A silent majority of abused taxpayers has been activated, and it won't take much to keep them agitated and active.  There will be a heavy political price to pay for even modest tax increases in future years.

Could you remind us what you think the "gross tactical miscalculation" is?

I believe it was a mistake for the BoCC to assume that, since it got no significant flak for raising tax RATES for 20 years at a pace far greater than inflation, that it could now increase tax BILLS by changing the other coefficient -- and somehow, nobody would complain.Guess they were wrong.  Tactical Miscalculation.  Penalty?  They have effectively forfeited the ability to spend more, virtually unchecked, as they have done for decades.  It would have been far smarter, politically, to leave the valuations below market and then marginally adjust the rates.While some will claim that the current year RATE will somehow be revenue neutral, I'd bet you $10 my tax BILL will go up, because it never has stayed flat, much less gone down, since I moved here in 1991.   Regarding representation:  nobody represents my interests locally.  I simply do not trust a one-party-who-has-ruled-forever political system to understand what the word 'enough' means, when they have proven to me that they never have before.Time for change.

OK tax revolters. In Orange County, enough what?What do we have too much of? What should we curtail?I think Fred asked this one, too. Not seeing a lot of responses and certainly not any that would drop the tax rate even a penny.Here are the ground rules — the same one the commissioners are playing under — you can't alter the state or federal constitution, overturn any court rulings or obtain special legislation from the General Assembly. So, step right up to the microphone and have at it.  

I get some kind of blue card every year with my tax bill to tell me wht I am being taxed for.  It's really difficult to make out what any of this means, since it's so condensed, and without the actual budget in front of me I would have a hard time spelling out what I'd cut.  Instead, I prefer to look at the budget on a per-capita basis, and then compare it to what I think the service is worth.  That would tell me if the costs are reasonable.  For my analysis, I am assuming the county population is 130,000 and that I will use the information the County provided me on the blue card.I also have to mention the problem nobody wants to talk about ... the use-tax rule, where half of the land in the County is substantially exempt from the rates everybody else pays.  The exemption is ripe for abuse, it is demonstrably abused, and is grossly unfair.  And although it's the true reason so many of us have to pay way more than we can afford, nobody talks about it.That said - Let's go down the 'blue card' list: 1.  Governing and Management, $9.5 million.Let me see here, there's 130,000 people and we spend almost ten million a year governing and managing them?   I don't need to be governed or managed for $73 a year, and neither do you.  Cut it in half. 2. General services, $12.8 million What is a 'general service' ?  I suppose this keeps up the public buildings, runs the tax office, registrar of deeds, and so forth.  Who knows.  But again, on a per-capita basis, this is almost $100 a year, just too much.  Cut it by 33% and make up any shortfall by raising user fees. 3. Community and Environment, $4.1 millionAgain, the category is too poorly defined, so let me guess that this means the recycling truck service.  $34/year per person.  Let this one go.  Not worth arguing about. 4. Human Services, $35.5 millionNow, here's a whopper!  What in tarnation costs that much money?  And, who benefits?  Cost is $273 a year for every single resident, almost $1100 for my family alone.  Let me tell you, if I was getting $1100 worth of something, I'd sure as heck know it.  Somebody in charge needs to tell me what it is, or this line-item needs some serious trimming.  Since this is so big  a line-item and it's so vague, let's be generous, spend 10% less and see who howls.  4.  Public safety, $16.7 millionI know it's fashionable to praise the boys in blue, but my personal experience with them has been less than impressive.  These are the same folks who literally tell me they refuse to enforce certain laws, such as the speed limit and the noise ordinances.  Like I said, not impressed.  Cut by 15% until somebody decides basic law-and-order matter.  5. Culture and recreation, $3.7 millionThis comes to $28 a year per person.  I don't know what it's for, although it sounds nice.  Is this for the library?  Cut by the same amount my salary was cut by, 25%. 6. Education, $91 millionThis is the third rail around here and I am a pragmatist.  $700 per person.  Leave it alone. 7.  Non-education debt service, $6.3 millionThis looks like interest payments on previous loans/bonds.  Credit card.  Not much you can do but pay this piper. 8.  Non-education transfers to other funds, $3.3 million.Seems like a catch-all to me.  Cut by 25%. Total savings: $16.7 million, out of a $183 million budget.  That's less than 10% reduction overall.  Perfectly reasonable.Next step: cap the budget amount at this new level and increase it every year by the following formula: (per-capita cost times the population) x (1 + rate of inflation)Any of the budget line-items that need to go up by more than the rate of inflation need to be passed by annual referendum. Nomex suit on. 

Go to to see the real numbers.  I assume that you really aren't serious with your recommendations, are you?

Without looking at the specifics you pointed me to and making alterations accordingly ... yes, I am quite serious.  I identified about a 9% budget cut with only about 20 minutes looking.  Which of my suggestions would you say are not realistic?  And, why would you assume I wasn't serious?

Without looking at the specifics, it means absolutely nothing to boldly proclaim, "cut it in half."  If you are truly serious, you would do the hard work to understand the specifics that you are recommending cutting.  That's what people who are trying to be responsible are busy doing.  But, let me say it again, every dollar in a budget got there because of someone's "compelling" reason, and agree or not, those dollars don't come out by just taking your fiscal axe and slice off a third, a half, or any amount.  You have to do the hard work.  Just ask the last Chapel Hill citizen group that worked on the budget, it's hard and it's time consuming work that few really have the stomach for or the skills needed to do it well.

The County is REQUIRED to revaluate on a regular basis.  This whole conversation is really odd in its timing.  Revaluation has VERY LITTLE to do with your taxes going up.  Taxes go up because the County is spending more $.  That seems to happen every year.  The BoCC did nothing special this year to cause this.  I appreciate the frustration, but when you gets your facts so wrong, it is hard to be taken seriously.

 If I recall and I am sure I will be corrected if wrong, Orange County revaluate every 4 years instead of the REQUIRED 8 year span that most counties use. Now there are a number of reasons but the value of ones property is the main one and trying to avoid sticker shock. I think most of those who are surprised by the energy of this movement forget that as property values and home buying have dropped off the cliff, but your home has taken a big increase in value then they are upset. The fact that this movement is using the same kind of tools used by the dems last fall is sure to upset a number of liberals.

Actually, there was media present. I was there (story's online and in the print product) as was a reporter from the Carrboro Citizen.  The line was incredibl, and people were definitely NOT happy. Vanessa Shortley
News of Orange

I went to the "tax revolt" meeting not knowing what to expect. I had tried to do some online research regarding this meeting, but found not much by way of details about the agenda, or the organizers. It turns out the event was organized by, which at first glance appears to be a tax protest group with nationwide membership. They claim to have 400 Orange County members, and 2500 NC members. I'm sure their rosters will increase after tonight's gathering. ( Clearly, nobody really expected as many people to show up as turned out on this cold night. The event's organizer's estimated 1300 people attempted to attend, with 200-300 turned away by the fire marshall. The fire marshall estimated a more modest ~500 people admitted, with ~200 turned away. Whatever the real count, it was a Big Barn filling crowd of disgruntled voters. The crowd was mostly older, and of the people I recognized, mostly long term OC residents. I believe the BoCC was remiss in not having a single representative present. Also absent was any form of overt media coverage. That will likely change for subsequent gatherings. By the time I got in, they were all out of printed agendas, and I had to stand way in the back where hearing everything said was challenging, so I didn't get every speaker's name.  The first speaker was a Carrboro Realtor who said nothing of substance, but primarily attempted to whip up the crowd. (I found it ironic that a realtor who'd presumably profited from the Carrboro bubble would be complaining about the housing valuations in that area.)The second speaker was long time Hillsborough Realtor and former Hillsborough mayor Joe Phelps. Joe took a completely different and more useful tact of simply trying to tell folks his opinions on how best they might protest house re-evaluations that they felt were higher than supported by market. Amongst other things, he said that revaluations based on what the market was in '07 and '08 had little to nothing to do with where the OC housing market is in '09. He claims that the  housing market is down 50% in the past 6 months in OC. 10-15% increases might be justified, but 20-25% increases were not. (That is the specific point that I wanted to make, if given the chance.)CH appraiser P.H.Craig stood up from the audience to say that by state law, the presumption is that the assigned value is correct, (unless the homeowner can sucessfully challenge). The 3rd speaker is one of the organizers from Carrboro. He said that 50% of the calls he's been receiving regarding this "tax revolt" are from seniors who feel that they won't be able to make ends meet with the (proposed) increases in property taxes.The 4th speaker was former BoCC member Ben Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd said that OC has the highest property tax in NC. It's not highest purely by rate. That honor goes to Scotland County. But, when one combines prop. tax rate and property valuation, OC is highest. 86% of OC taxes from residential base. Only 14% from non-residential. 25 years with essentially no change in tax base and no significant new commercial tax bases. 14 years ago 3 new economic growth areas created, with no results to date. (Note, is the 14 year figure correct? I was thinking Efland was designated as such back 20-25 years ago.) Ben went on to say that OC spending is out of control and that all this is a result of irresponsible and lavish spending on things like the $35M for new county offices, and $13M spent on acquiring OC property for county uses. He also said that the capital needs for the next 10 years are projected to be $360M and asked where that was going to come from.The next meeting will be March 16th at a location which has not yet been decided due to anticipated crowds.  

"feel that they won't be able to make ends meet with the (proposed) increases in property taxes."Has there been a proposed increase?  What is the proposed increase?  Whose proposal are you talking about?

People in general are just very concerned when they see there valuations sky rocket. In 2005 my tax went up 19% in one fell swoop. There is not a proposed increase as yet but the revenue neutral rate seems to be around .818. Given that I am facing an increase of 5.71 %. When you add all the increases year after year and the compounding affect it produces an out of control spiral of increases. This really concerns citizens on fixed incomes or people getting ready to retire. We all need to live within our means and hopefully the BOCC will rocognize that when they set a new tax rate.


1) The Commissioners couldn't come because they were at a Public Hearing. 2) My understanding is that the new tax rate will be "revenue neutral" at 22% (the county average value increase). In other words, if your property was revalued at 22% more than last time, you will pay the same amount of taxes. If your property value increased more than 22%, you will be paying more.

For ~20 years or so OC has increased tax rates above "revenue neutral". Kudos to Steve Yuhasz, Valerie Foushee and Mike Nelson for publicly stating that they are philisophically aligned with actually keeping rates "revenue neutral", but it would be naive to just assume that such will be the actuality based on history in this county. *********************From ChapelHillNews:MARK SCHULTZ, Staff WriterCHAPEL HILL - It's called the "revenue neutral" tax rate. Each time Orange County revalues property, staff calculate a property tax rate needed to raise the same amount of money as the year before. And then the county commissioners approve a higher tax rate, meaning most property owners pay a bigger tax bill. It's worked that way for at least 20 years, according to information budget director Donna Coffey handed out at a Saturday retreat.***************************And, correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding, which is bolstered by Mark's post above, is that "revenue neutral" does not equate to tax bills remaining the same for all customers from '08 to '09, but rather is a smoke and mirrors concept that has no real analog in reality of what an individual can expect from one year to the next. And it certainly doesn't apply to the intervening years before the next "re-valuation". Here's a radical concept. Why not adopt a policy that ties property tax to actual costs of services requested and received by a majority of the populace?

Mike, it is not "smoke and mirrors."  Revenue neutral means that the average bill would be the same and therefore that the amount of revenue would be the same.  Obviously some people's property has appreciated more than others.  And so even with a revenue neutral rate, some folks tax bill would go up, but others would go down slightly (if their valuation has risen less than the average amount).For example, a property in unincorporated Orange County that was formerly valued at $113,641 was re-valued at $131,990.  That is an increase of about 16% in value.  The average property in Orange County went up about 22% (or so I am told) and so if the tax rate is kept at the revenue neutral rate for 2009-10, then the tax rate would decline from 1.05025% down to about 0.8612%.  This particular taxpayer would actually see a DECREASE in his tax bill.  It would go DOWN about $57.But it ultimately depends on what the new rate is (and also I am not certain that 22% is the correct average increase).Meanwhile, my home went up about 36% in tax valuation and so I would be paying somewhat higher taxes, even if we hold to a revenue neutral tax rate.  It just depends on your particular circumstances.

Incidentally, I checked back on the numbers I cited above.  The actual 2008 real property tax for that property was $1,193.52.  In 2009, it was $1,193.98.  So I have to concede that your property taxes actually did go up last year.

(I'm assuming tone in the previous post is sarcastic in my response.  Ignore if I'm wrong - I hate trying to read tone in electronic communication)In your previous post, you said you would expect a 16% valuation increase to DECREASE taxes.  But you're essentially showing it the same.  Which means if a property went up 22%, they'd be paying something like 5% higher taxes.  The issue with what the county did to the current tax rates is that they included non-real estate taxes in the calculation.  And because we paid less in auto taxes (and some other things), we had to pay more in real estate taxes to get the entire "real property tax" revenue to be the same.   If average values went up 22%, taxes should have gone down 18% to keep the average real estate property tax the same.  They didn't.  And the county fudged the definition to say it was "revenue neutral". 

You hit the head right on the nose. There fudging pretty much gave most of the county residents a tax increase. I think they still believe they did something good for us with all their talk about fictional revenue neutrality, even after the 1000's of people showed their concern in the various public hearings and tax meetings related to revaluation and property tax rate. I truly believe these people do not care about the middle class (especially people on fixed income that worked hard all their lives to live in a decent home) and will continue to soak us every year then super soak us every valuation year. They have tunnel vision when it comes to doling out compassion. We can only hope we get a brief respite with their goal to hold the line on tax rates this year. After last years huge increase due to revaluation and new rate, we deserve this crumb they are throwing us.

I do not support the concept in this thread that the revaluation was somehow at fault.  The "revenue neutral" definition issue would have occurred whether the revaluation was 50% higher or 5% higher.   I also don't mind paying higher taxes for some of the services we get in OC (we have high property values because we support great schools, for instance).   I'm also sure there are areas the county should seriously tighten its belt (but I am not deep enough into it to say what those are -- that is why being a commissioner is a tough job and I have never attempted to be one).  I also am mad at the folks who challenged their assessments.  Because their success at getting lower values means that my share of the taxes will go up. In conclusion (in a long post on an old thread), I think the BoCC and manager are gulty of shenanigans with the "revenue neutral" definition, but do not support  all the rest of this "tax revolt" thread.

Agree with your analysis. But when your approaching a fixed income and you see your taxes go up 30-40% in one year (30% 5 years previous) and look out 10 more years somethings broken and, will you be able to afford to stay in what you have worked all your lives for when you reach that fixed income?? I for certain don't see services worth the astronomical increase we see on our tax bills. Actually I'm not sure I see many services I benefit from at all.It may be an old thread but is guaranteed to come back and haunt us in 4 more years.

Each resident of Orange County is represented by $2542 (national average) in the military budget. With a population of 135,000 that is $343 million leaving the county for what exactly?The county budget is $178 million.  

He's submitting a new law to clarify the costs of war --

James, I was only partly being sarcastic.  I absolutely agree that the BOCC was disingenuous to call it 'revenue neutral.'  Actually, 'disingenuous' is probably too polite a term for it.On the other hand, the tax bill referenced above was that of one person who seemed certain that the BOCC would tax him out of house and home, and yet I see from tax records that he did managed to summon forth the extra 59 cents for tax year 2009.  The reason I went back to look at the actual tax impact is because I wondered what ever happened to the Tax Revolt?  The (purported) Tax Revolt failed to so much as make a remark on the candidates in the BOCC race this May.  They don't appear to have fielded a candidate (unless some candidate is keeping a secret).  And one of the BOCC seats up this May was uncontested altogether.I'll give the Tax Revolt credit though, for the first time in a decade, the BOCC raised taxes only a little bit in 2009.  And yes, that is a sarcastic comment on both the Tax Revolt and the BOCC.

I don't see a collective organized named group (ie tax revolt, tea perty, whatever) in this concern. Many tried and still try to make it out that way. I saw and still see a whole lot of Orange County residents from all walks of life very concerned about their explosive bottom line tax bill growth in the last 10 years. I'm sure a good number of those people voted.I'm glad not one candidate associated with the so called tax revolt/tea party/whatever but I did see 3 BOCC candidates very concerned with the explosive tax growth that talked about solutions. One of which won their primary and has a good chance of getting on the board. I'm also glad to see Carrboro, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill and hopefully Orange County holding the line on tax rates this year. I hope that feeling carries over in future years. 

organized "Tea Party" gatherings last year. Now the corporate-funded, "let's help the little guy" organization has moved on (to defending BP?, protecting Wall Street?, promoting war funding?, etc.) and the local teabaggers seem helpless. 

I don't mind paying more in taxes, so this question is just for my understanding, not an endorsement of the Dick Armey Tax Revolters.If your home is assessed higher, don't you end up paying more in taxes even if the rate is the same as last year? If so, doesn't that guarantee a more highly funded resource from property values for the county (and subsequently for the towns that also charge on that new assessment)?

If you don't mind paying more in taxes then I'll gladly let you pay mine.  You left yourself wide open for that one.

"Dick Armey Tax Revolters"I have an earnest request. Can we please dispense with snarky, partisan, ill-fitting labels and keep to the topic? One hardly has to agree with Dick Armey to question Orange County NC property valuations. Thank you.

blank_pageI disliked the influence Dick Armey had on the US Congress. I have no desire to
support any organization that he is part of. I believe it is my right to say so
publicly, just as it is your right to take part in an organization he heads up. Why is using his name a label; it's just the truth.

Well whether it's 500 or 1200, it's more  than I've seen at any other meeting, including public hearings.    I am very surprised to hear that there was no media there and would like to know why.   500 people showing up for almost any other grassroots  "cause" would have lots of media hovering around.   I think it's a mistake to dimiss this group's concerns too quickly.   Whether there is an actual tax increase this year or not, it seems that  the general trend will be towards more organized public opposition to  proposed tax hikes than in years past.   If they can get 500 people to show up at a BOCC meeting, then you'll know they intend to play and not just watch.   

Or maybe they didn't want media - which is hard to believe &, if true, is not very tactical.

Maybe there were reporters there and no one realized it?

You might be right that no one spotted the reporters, or maybe they got turned away by the fire marshal. Also, there was a lot going on in our area last night, with the OC Commissioners public hearing and the 4+ hour session of the Chapel Hill Town Council. Newsrooms have fewer and fewer folks to dispatch these days. It doesn't mean there's any less news, it's just harder to cover every thing.   

According to her blog post about a half-hour before the meeting, Vanessa Shortley of The News of Orange County was planning to attend - and she invited people to "come up and talk to me."Did anyone?

Yes, Mr. Scott. Several people did.The media were there. I can't say that enough. Despite cutbacks and what amounted to a long day, I made an effort to get there because I knew this would draw a crowd. Though, I'll be the first to admit, I didn't think the crowd would be quite so large.  I almost didn't make it in. Vanessa Shortley
News of Orange



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