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?



I was there and covered the event for the Carrboro Citizen. You can find it on page 2 in this week's paper, or on the website. And yeah, getting in was a little dicey, but they let us in anyway.I wound up sitting on the floor off to the side of the speakers with my recorder and my notepad.

Everything in the way this country and state is set up is designed to subjugate urban interests to rural interests, with the most obvious example being the US Senate. Wyoming has just as much representation in the Senate as does California.Now I'm going to speak in broad generalizations. Rural interests tend to lean towards "Stay out of my business and pocketbook - I don't expect much in return" Whereas urban interests tend to favor more institutions, services, and more regulation to keep things orderly and fair, and will pay more to get it.As a non-resident of Orange County, I really like how uninc. OC is still rural. Head to Wake or Durham and there's basically nothing rural left. If there were to be a swing in the balance of power in OC to favor rural interests, I predict that OC land use and zoning will be relaxed, and OC will rapidly begin to look like Wake.

I came to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1961. The BOCC were four farmers from northern Orange and one Harvey Bennett, an ultra conservative CH business man. The CH Board of Alderman was mostly conservative business people, and Carrboro? Forgedaboutit.....Each body was long time and firm supporters of segregation. Thanks to Anne Barnes and Richard Whitted we began in the later 60's to flex the southern Orange muscles.  You all know the story of Howard Lee, R D Smith et al and the turning of the Town boards. And now, happily, we have Mark in Carrboro!Ever since the triumph of Anne Barnes et al there has been the whining of social and political conservatives about representation. Sorry, but I can't hear you. The County budgets and their increases have been mostly for the development and support of the public schools in the County. A very small percentage has gone towards public facilities such as County office buildings and courtrooms. You can thank those city types for new schools in Hillsborough and northern Orange because the crew on board when I came here would have never bought a brick for a school child.  Now we are going to fight over density, sustainability, and who can afford to live here. If you've got a fairer plan than making sure our property taxes are based on 100% of current market value, I would like to hear about it.

General thoughts on this issue: What some people appear to be saying in this thread is property taxes seem to go up every year at a rate faster than inflation.  Although I haven’t done a careful study my experience tells me that is essentially correct.  The question for me is why?  The County government doesn’t seem extravagant.  I don’t know what the answer is but I have a thought.  Our population is increasing.  It seems to me that the fixed costs of running a government should be decreasing per person.  So there must be some nonfixed costs that increase at a rate faster than the population increase.  My guess is that we have increased infrastructure needs because of the population growth and current residents are supporting future residents. Certainly Orange County’s population is growing and there will be more people to pay taxes in the future then we have now, more people using the infrastructure that we are currently building.  Do we pay for any long term capital expenditures with current funds?  If so I think we shouldn’t. Another tax issue, I just got my vehicle tax notice.  What is a City Veh Fee?  It sounds like a per car fee fixed by the municipalities, independent of the value of the car.  It sounds regressive to me.  I think it is more than I pay for my plates.  What is it paying for?

Chapel Hill is authorized by its charter to levy a $15.00 fee per motor vehicle that goes into the town general fund, and all municipalities operating a public transit system are authorized to levy a further $5.00 to be used exlusively for public transportation.

You might also be interested in the agenda item below from Monday night's Council meeting.  I missed a pretty big part of the meeting, but if I'm not mistake this was postponed until the March 9 meeting.  I would expect this will pass easily. summary, the general assembly authorized an additional $10 per vehicle
annual registration tax for the Town, allowing the Town to increase its motor
vehicle tax from $20 to $30.  The state requires that all vehicle registration taxes over $15 go to public transportation, so this fee will bump funding for the bus system by $10/car, effective starting in July.  This additional fee is expected to boost the transit fund by $282,000. (Which I suppose means there are an estimated 28,000 cars registered in Chapel Hill?  Seems a little low, but maybe with so many students having cars registered at home that's an accurate figure.)

I can understand using automobile based funding to support public transportation but I can’t understand using this form of regressive taxation.  It should be based on the value of the car (as the rest of vehicle tax is) or the gas mileage of the car perhaps, if you want to look at it as a penalty for driving a car.  Also, does any of it go to the TTA or is it just for municipal transportation systems?   

I believe they raised their fee from $15 to $20 to help support public transportation. The motion was made in 2002, but I'm not sure when they began collecting the higher fee or how much they are generating from it.

Comes from two places:1.  A $5 vehicle registration fee in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties.  I believe this was passed in 1998.  The value has not ever changed nor adjusted with inflation, so it's value is probably worth $3 and something cents in 1998 dollars today.2.  A 5% tax on rental cars in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties.   There may be fees for local public transit that Terri is talking about, but they have no relationship to Triangle Transit.

I noticed that both the N&O and CHH carried a story on the meeting.  Of course it's not clear if those writing were there or not, but a quote in the CHH tends to demonstrate one of our big problems:

"People are absolutely sick of the way these governments -- Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County -- are spending money," Berger said. "People love living in these communities. . . but these political fools are destroying it. . . We've got to stand up and stop it."

If we disagree with the decisions of those in office, we can remove them.  But who among the "name callers" is willing to serve?  So many don't even bother to vote, so who are the fools?We have dedicated elected officials and like their judgments or not, calling them "political fools" solves no budget issue.

I attended the tax revolt meeting.  The Mike Swaim summary above is a realistic summary.  I would add three things:First, with one exception, the speakers were objective, without  resorting to personal attacks on the local elected officials.  The exception was Mr. Berger, the "third speaker" in the Swaim summary, who called the county commissioners "uncaring".  Such personal attacks, in my opinion, will only harm the tax revolt cause, and should be avoided.  I know every one of the county commissioners -- none of them is "uncaring".  You can disagree with their decisions of course, but don't let the dialog devolve into personal attacks.Second,  I have seen a number of grass-roots causes start and fail because they depend upon the passion of the leaders, then slowly dissipate because rank-and-file support dwindles.  This movement seems much more substantial and I would encourage our local elected offcials, from both county and towns, to pay close attention.Third, I am beginning to believe that there is something technically wrong with the valuation process.  If indeed the valuation is supposed to reflect the market value of each property on January 1, 2009, then comparable sales in the last half of 2008 must be included by the software that does the valuations.  They aren't -- John Smith, please correct me if I am wrong.  What is the cutoff date for which comparable sales were included?  

I bet that most of these tax revolutionaries have had no problems with the astronomical obscene war spending that has sapped our collective tax coffers. Plus a host of other corporate welfare programs at the state & federal level that force us to scrap for crumbs in an increasingly pressured local revenue hunt.

Absolutely.  If this group wants to have influence, they need to take some of that passion to council, alderman, and commissioner meetings and to the ballot box.   Calling people names doesn't necessarily promote credibility or accomplish anything.  But I do think it's important to pay attention. Anyone who claims to be surprised by the number of people at this "tax" meeting isn't listening to the conversations in the grocery aisles, on the soccer field, or at the gas station.  The problem isn't really the real estate valuations anyway.  Its the budget and the tax rate.   If they reduce the valuations, we just have to set a tax rate that supports the budget.    Whatever the property is valued at, the tax rate is based on the budget and spending.   That's the side to tackle if you want real relief.      

Some people just don’t trust the County now because these proposed revaluations fly in the face of a general decline in asset values. An across the board reduction of some percentage in all the County’s revaluations would roughly ring true, and might take away some of the distrust and fury. An across the board cut wouldn’t change relative valuations or relative tax burdens from what’s proposed, and it would leave open the tax rate, so it’s open to the charge of being cosmetic. But it would show that government can listen and face facts and could give the County some needed credibility.

Patrick Oglesby

Here''s what I want to know.  How are the demographics of our community changing and how does that impact our government spending? For example,  are we seeing a change  in the number of school age children per household as an aggregate?   Are we seeing a change in the number of retirees?  All those things affect the demand for certain types of services, and their cost.  For example, it sure seems to me that we have had far more of an increase in our school age population than one might expect based on the amount of new development in the county.     That would mean that existing property occupied by people without children, when it turns over, is being occupied by people with children.   Impact fees don't help there because it's not new home construction that is fueling the school age population increase,  it's the change in demand for existing homes.   Not surprising, if it's actually true, since we have worked hard to have a first rate school system, and that investment has resulted in increasing the value of real estate in this county dramatically.   That's some information I would want to know  in order to make informed decisions.   My sense is that our demographics are changing, the demand for some services is increasing while the demand for others is decreasing.   I'd like to get a handle on how the long term demographics of Orange County look.  

Some of that data is here.

Using the state projections for Orange County for 2009 and their actual counts for 2000: There was a 8.8% increase in children aged 0-17; a 17% increase in young adults (18-24); and a total increase of 13%.

If I understand this correctly, the population of children is increasing more slowly than the general population.  Therefore the number of children per household is declining and the increase in school population is primarily due to new development. 

Jim, that is indeed interesting.  I wonder if that could be proven in a more rigorous way.  It certainly would have some important policy implications.

Mark, I think the numbers you would need are the number of dwellings and the school population at two different times.  Clearly, it would be easy to get the public school population.  I think in fairness, it shouldn't be all school age children because the County is not paying for the kids who go to private schools.  Getting the number of dwellings might be more difficult.  I don't know.  I think you also must include unoccupied dwellings and what ever you do with dwellings under construction needs to be consistent but should be considered.  How do you count the dwellings of the homeless or people in shelters?  I can think of a number of ways to count them but I suppose multiple models could be used to see if the way of counting really matters to the results.  I suppose someone could come up with these numbers from reliable sources, not me though.

Well that's interesting, but I can't quite compute that--if the number of children per household is declining, then wouldn't the decline in number of children per household in existing homes  offset the increase in children in new homes?   I guess I need to look at the number of new homes sold in the county versus the number of resales to get that straight.  

Anita,You have the idea.  The decrease in children per household does offset  children added by new homes.  It just isn’t large enough.  So we still have a net increase.  The numbers aren’t mine, just this analysis.  The questions really are; does the overall increase in population reflect the increase in the number of dwellings fairly and are the numbers correct?  The number of new dwellings added to the inventory is an important number for an analysis of this problem.  Maybe the number of new homes sold is a surrogate for the increased inventory of dwellings but I think the number of resales is irrelevant. They point out:

  •  The influence of Dick Armey here (ie, this is not some local grassroots thing)
  • This has very little to do with revaluation
  • Cutting revenues (or even keeping even) is very tough for local governments

Thinking back on their meeting at the Big Barn, I now realize what is missing.  None of their speakers stated concrete and measurable goals.  They celebrated their huge turnout, provided some objective information about revaluation, and reminded the commissioners to live within their means.  But beyond "tax revolt", there was no message. We could suggest goals, such as:Ask the commissioners to cancel this revaluation and redo it using a later cutoff date that would include the recent real estate downturn.Set a tax rate that is 10 pct below revenue neutral.Establish some quantitative balance that they favor between taxation in northern/central Orange  southern Orange, or perhaps between the two school districts. I think that they will have to create a message that will fit on a yard sign that is better than  "tax revolt".Can we release Earl Grey (British) teabags into Morgan Creek by the Chapel Hill Harbor?  

I am all for releasing OWASA's sludge into Morgan Creek after all the sludge is safe according to OWASA.

You've hit on what I meant when I wrote that I wasn't sure what to expect from this event or this group. Back in my more activist days I learned that rousing people on a hot button issue is not always particularly difficult, but what is difficult is getting them to act in meaningful ways. Going to this event, I wasn't clear at all who or what it was, or what I'd come away with. Was it going to be an instructional session on how to protest individual property tax valuations? Was it going to be an official explanation of what is going on? I confess that I didn't even know who was putting it on. The more I learn about the whole situation, the more disappointed and disillusioned I am with ALL involved. I'm disappointed in the organizers for not offering more substance, but I'm really, really disappointed in the county elected officials for not following a basic precept of good management that simply states that the more fully informed people are, the less they're likely to object to change initiatives. That's really what all this boils down to. If the county would've been very clear about the difference between revaluation and tax rates, and if they would've explained why either needed to increase and what it was all for, then they likely could've avoided having to deal with what is now a growing  movement. What this is going to come down to is whichever side can fully convince the public that their explanation seems to make the most sense is going to win this one. Politics 101. The county could've headed most of this off at the pass if they'd been even a little bit proactive in anticipating people's negative reactions in a down economy. 

Mike writes:

If the county would've been very clear about the difference between revaluation and tax rates, and if they would've explained why either needed to increase and what it was all for, then they likely could've avoided having to deal with what is now a growing  movement.

This is a point that is expressed frequently: how can our governments do a better job educating folks?  In this era of rapid and multiple means of communications, what's working in getting the word out?  The fact that so many organizations and institutions are struggling with this, there must be some "best practices" that can be adopted.  To Mike's point, there is clearly a misunderstanding about what revaluations do and don't do. Suggestions?

I think it's simple math.  The increase in the valuations allows the BoCC to make politically-safer, numerically-smaller percentage rate hikes in the future, and still increase the revenue by a larger amount than they would have been able to with the lower valuations.  "Look ma, we only raised the *rate* a little."Nobody I talked to at the 2/23 gathering (ten or twelve independent conversations, at random) was under any illusions that this whole matter wasn't as simple as just that.  Even if the "promise" to keep the 2009 rate at a revenue-neutral level was fulfilled, you have to know that they'd make up for it in 2010 and beyond. That is, unless a more representative cross-section of the population starts showing up for budget hearings. What we have here is not a matter of inadeqaute education, what we have, rather, is a breach of trust.  I do not trust the BoCC to represent me or my interests, without increased oversight, and others apparently feel similarly.  What we are all going to find out soon is whether the percentage of fiscal stalwarts on the BoCC matches the percentage of like-minded County voters.

In this morning's CHH "Community Speakout" column, a local resident answers the question, Do you support the Orange Tax Revolt against high property taxes and too much government spending?" by saying:

Yes. It is crazy that taxes are already so high in Chapel Hill and then they did a re-assessment and raised them.  They went over the limit this time.

So where did this "re-assessment" notion come from?Another favorite in the same column has a person saying, "When is the government going to start giving instead of taking?" Yep, there's plenty of "misunderstanding" out there! 

You (and others) may not trust them to do the right thing, but the fact remains that the Commissioners haven't actually set the tax rate yet, so it seems to me that your frustration would be better placed on actions they have already taken rather than what you assume they will do, no?

The theme at tomorrow night's demonstration will be a request for the BoCC to rescind the revaluations.It's interesting political theater.  If the BoCC does do so, it's a 'win' for the tax protesters, but it's still the wisest choice the County could make at this time.  If the BoCC presses on with the current revaluations, they'll be inundated with even more formal requests for review, followed by near-certain summary rejections, followed by further court challenges ad nauseum.  The firestorm of protest will simply be stoked higher, and I might expect more than a few people to put their 2009 tax bills into escrow accounts, forcing the County to sue for collections. So, yes, you are correct - and I agree.  The immediate focus needs to be on actions the BoCC has already made. There will be plenty of attention paid later on, as the budget (and subsequent tax rate adjustments) are deliberated.

The revaluations don't even mean anything without knowing the tax rate. The question is really whether the individual values are fair in comparison with other values in the county, I don't hear anyone talking about that.If you are determined to be mad becasue Dick Armey and friends have got you whipped up, then no amount of debate will stop you.  But I'm not convinced that the County has done anything wrong yet.  (And yes, my valuation went up too, more than I thought it would.)

I have read several places, including in this forum, about the influence of Dick Armey on this local tax issue.  If it helps to know, in the discussions I have had with people, this person's name and organization has never come up.  Not once.  Only in the [left-tilting] newspapers and blogs is he mentioned.  If his organization is to be considered as a force behind the cannon, know this:  even after making myself known to the 'tax revolt' organizers, I've received just ONE automated phone call about future events.  That's it.  So much for the help supposedly provided by external parties.While I am not a heavy political wonk (this is the only such blog I participate in), if my recollection serves, Dick Armey was a far-right type of person and the sort who'd probably invoke ire amongst many of the folks who frequent this particular forum.  I believe it to be very counterproductive / misleading to think that the recent heated participation in local tax discussions, by persons so concerned, is in any wide-scale way fostered or fomented by external persons or parties.  Focusing on one's distaste for certain political ideologues takes away the proper focus on the issue.  In short: don't spend time looking for a bogeyman when there isn't one, no matter how tempting it may be to find an external target.  Personally, I could not care less who Dick Armey is or if he or his organization is helping in any way.  It's my increasingly smaller income, not his, that is at stake here.  And, as I spend more time with people similarly concerned, I do find that independent sentiment to be predominant.Some background: For many years, my property tax valuations were notably below market value.  I rationalized the ridiculously high rate on the fact that the property valuation was equally silly.  Now, the property valuation is notably higher than market.  So, I have a beef about that.  Dick Armey doesn't enter into it.I also have a beef about the rate at which the tax bills have gone up over the years, and about the actual amount of the tax bill.  I think a spending freeze, if not a reduction, is in order.  I just never complained about it until now, and nobody else has, much, either.  Now, people will complain, because they are mad.  It's really as simple as that.  County property taxes, for me, and seemingly for others, are not a good value anymore.  The BoCC can -by force of law- confiscate my income, and they need to temper that awsome authority with respect and humility that I have yet to see demonstrated.  

you sound reasonable, but even as you point out the different issues at hand here, you don't acknowledge that they have nothing to do with each other. Yes, the county needs to move forward with a "spending freeze".  They've already asked the manager to work on a budget in that direction for 09-10.   Absolutely reasonable request in these times and will require some reductions (to make up for mandated increases in other areas).  As noted, this isn't the "normal" budget baseline for the County, which will make some mad and others think it is not enough. The large protest over the revaluation has NOTHING to do with the total budget of the county and what level it is set at.  Anyone who implies otherwise just looks silly, IMHO.  Revaluation's only impact is what percentage of the pie I pay in relation to my neighbor.  Every one of those folks protesting and appealing is really just causing my share to go up!   

That's exactly right. It is all about share of the pie and is why the system is a runawy train. Higher than average assessment means you pay a larger share of the pie. The gotcha is that it seems like the higher share of the pie you pay the less services you get. The system should more equitably spread the share of the pie over citizens partially based on your property but also based on what share of the services do you use. The services taken by new development far outway the cost so existing residents must make up the difference. For example in orange County as new residents bring children into the system it means the marginal cost of adding those children is huge (ie we need to build a new school).  We need more fairness and variablity to allocate the costs more equitably based on a formula that includes the srvices you use and not just the value of your house.Thx 

Why would the prior set of tax values be more fair than the new ones? Have you read the Citizen's stats on whose tax values went up more than average and whose went up less than average (or even down)?  It is an interesting list.See Chapel Hill condos up 45%Various Carrboro condos up 45%Chapel Hill subdivision up 44% Subdivision just west of Carrboro up 43%More Chapel Hill condos up 43%Meanwhile:Subdivision in Hillsborough up 2% Subdivision in Cedar Grove up 1%Subdivision in Hillsborough up 1%Subdivision in Hillsborough no changeSubdivision in Timberlake down 3%There is a pretty obvious pattern there, right?  I mean, I am sure some neighborhoods in Hillsborough and rural Orange County went up considerably, but all the biggest increases are in Chapel Hill Township.  All the most modest increases are in Hillsborough and northern Orange.If the Commissioners did go back to the old valuations, they would be choosing to put more of the tax burden back on folks who are north of I-85.  Would that be more fair or less fair?  Depends on your point of view, I suppose.I think the most fair thing would be for the state to choose a variety of other taxes besides the property tax.  But given the present system, I think our tax values should be based on the approximate market value of our properties.  And that is what the BOCC has done.  Why would the prior set of tax values be more fair than the new ones?

Come on, Mark, you know that's not what they're really protesting....  Dick Armey doesn't care what percentage CH/C pays vs rest of the county.

Right, but I think basically what some folks are doing is recruiting rural taxpayers into a movement that seeks to put more of the tax burden on . . . rural taxpayers.Question: What is the benefit of the stated objective of returning to the old tax values?Answer: There is no point in returning to the old tax values and hardly anyone expects (or really even wants) that outcome.  Returning to the old tax values is merely an objective to rally around.  Because returning to the old tax values is pointless, unfair and a waste of money, the BOCC will never do that.  And that will undoubtedly lead to some (self)righteous indignation about how the BOCC will (supposedly) not listen.  I am sure all of that will serve someone's political (and perhaps emotional) objectives, but it won't lower anyone's tax bill.

Amen, brother

There are 2 components of your property tax increase in an assessment year. One is where you are compared to the average. If you are higher than average you are guranteed a rate increase at revenue neutrality. The other is how much the BOCC increases over the revenue neutral rate. This upward reassessment cyle means you are paying a higher share than you were before every time you value goes up over the average. This difference due to reassessment gets compounded every time there is an increase in future years. For instance in 2005 my tax bill went up almost 20% in one shot. The inrease calculated to around 680 dollars. With the increases form 2006 - 2008 I am now paying 880 dollars for that same 680 dollars in 2005. The compounding of these increases puts an unfair ever growing  burden on taxpayers that get assessed at higher than the average (especially fixed income citizens). The revenue system is broken and needs to be flattened out in a more equitable fashion so all taxpayers have a more equitable share to pay. The way I see it I am paying a huge sum of money for basically little services. I can see why the tax revolt people want to stick with the old assessement and I agree with that goal. It flattens out the burden. I also think that the BOCC should have as a goal is to ask for no new increases (ie revenue neutrality or even better decrease the rate). Chapel Hill schools is building their budget starting with a goal of no increases. Given these scarey economic times the BOCC should be doing the same. Thx

The examples of increases I gave are straight from the newspaper.  I don't have any other data.  But my point was not that you have to be in town to be feeling the hit.I agree with your latter point.  I hope all of us in government will try to exercise the kind of fiscal restraint that families all over Orange County are using in their own household budgets.


You have skewed your stats to make it look like Chapel Hill/Carrboro is the only place seeing significant increase,. In my neighborhood which is outside Chapel Hill in the county, I am seeing astronomical increases from high 30's to high 40's. We are all in this together and probably need to come together rather than try to divide.Thx

Interesting observation:  Dan E. Way's article seems to have found its way to Free Republic.Anyone care to wager how long it will take for the "Orange Tax Revolt" to be mentioned on Fox News? Now about this Bryan Berger fellow- just who were "the 26" gathered in his living room that first night, I wonder?Love the passive voice in Mr. Way's article: "Having gotten organizational support from Orange County FreedomWorks, the local cell of a national anti-tax, limited-government organization started by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey...."I want to know who these people are. Come on Kirk- I'm counting on the Citizen to go behind the theater of this thing before it gets more national exposure.  How about some profiles of these movement leaders- since they seem to want the exposure?

How to fund our government (it is ours) is one of the most fundamental debates we have. It happens every year in one way or another and some years things heat up.As for who organized what, well, people have a right to organize and to petition their government for a redress of grievences. And if national groups want to support 'em there's nothing wrong with that. It occurs all through the politcal spectrum.Politics is the art of persuasion.The question isn't what I or other people in the media are going to do. The question is what are you going to do?  

I actually have a problem with outside, national groups funding local "grassroots" movements when the national groups' intention is not to actually benefit the local population but to further a right-wing anti-government agenda-- an agenda that is more about cutting government services for the poor than it is about lowering Joe Homeowner's tax bill.    A movement designed by the same people who helped to nearly wreck the entire world's financial system!I hate that good people are being bamboozled-- and are being used to fuel a national propaganda campaign led by Dick Armey.As for "people in the media," isn't investigative reporting part of the game anymore?

How cares who the group is linked into as long as they approach the problem from a local approach and don't bring in national politics which I believe they are trying to do.  How is putting a a much higher and higher tax burden on a fixed income citizen (retirees) that has worked all their lives for wht they have and are scared stiff about being gentrified from their houses because of this ever sprialling tax burden a right wing agenda.Thx

I was at the meeting and what I saw were a bunch of Orange County citizens that were scared stiff about not being able to afford their lifetime investment and fearing gentrification out of ther houses because of these u[pward spiralling property taxes. I did not get any impression that these people were pushing a national agenda. Why can't we all come together to solve a common problem and not be devisive. And this system of property tax revenue generation is broken and a problem and needs to be addressed before we are paying 10's of thousands every year (like NJ) instead of thousands.Thx

Tax opponents in Orange County to be heard

  • The attendence at the previous meeting has gone from a contested 700 or 1200 attendees to "at least 1200". 
  • The critics are NOT all that concerned with "individual properties or neighborhoods that went up more than the average".  They are upset at years and years of OC taxes going higher.
  • And we end the article with a suggestion to review EVERYONE over the average?  Huh?   Of course some properties are going up more than the average -- unless all go up the same, that exists by definition.  And so this realtor wants county staff to waste more taxpayer money???

I did some idle calculations.  I picked the top four or five public high schools in the state, as ranked by EOG tests etc, and calculated what my taxes would be if I lived in each of those districts in a similarly valued house.    450,000 house (my house's estimated value) 2008 tax rates Green Hope High School, Cary         4248.00 Apex High School, Apex                   4293.00Providence High School, Charlotte   5805.00 (I erred on the side of caution and assumed this school was in the highest tax district in Mecklenberg County). East Chapel Hill High School          8140.00 I doubled checked that math, but I would certainly welcome someone backchecking me because that made my eyes pop.  If my numbers are correct........ 



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