Town gets revaluations report|Real-property values expected to increase, says county manager

Published 11:25 pm Friday, October 16, 2009

Special to the Daily News

BELHAVEN — During the Town Council meeting Monday, town officials received a presentation on the upcoming tax revaluation of real and personal property in Beaufort County.
The presentation was made by County Manager Paul Spruill. who noted that state law mandates that property values be re-evaluated at least every eight years to reflect 100 percent of their fair-market values. The county uses the new tax values to set tax rates.
The revaluations will cause a substantial increase in real-property (land and houses or structures) values but a likely decrease in personal-property (vehicles and equipment) values, Spruill said. In revenue projections, that equals approximately 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
To offset the increase in property values, the county can decrease tax rates so that no great windfall in revenue occurs, he noted. The county will strive to be “revenue neutral,” meaning the new tax rates applied to the new property values generate about the same revenue as the current tax rates when applied to the current property values.
The combined tax base is projected to rise from $4.2 billion to $5.1 billion.
Most owners of real property can expect to see a 10 percent to 12 percent increase in taxes on real property. Most owners of personal property can expect to see an 18 percent decrease in taxes on personal property. The figures are estimates.
Also, people who own waterfront property or property near certain waterfronts will see their property taxes go higher than other landowners.
The new property valuations will be mailed in February 2010, with taxes due in 2011.
In other business, Mayor Adam O’Neal presented an update on the ongoing Turnpike Properties lawsuit.
His presentation indicated that the previous town administration had signed an agreement to supply sewer service to Linear Bay (a 400-house development) at Schram’s Beach from Belhaven, a pipeline distance of 22 miles. That agreement included a $495,000 payment from Turnpike to Belhaven and set sewer rates for Linear Bay residents equal to those of Belhaven residents. The agreement included no tap-in fee for new sewer users and no requirement for new homes to tap into the sewer line.
In theory, according to O’Neal, one home could tap into the sewer line with the other 399 choosing not to connect, but the town would have to maintain 22 miles of pipeline.
Under a new agreement developed by the current administration and Turnpike, sewer rates for Linear Bay residents will double. Turnpike will pay a $2,500 tap-in fee for each lot sold, a monthly $11 standby fee for each of the 400 houses (equaling $4,400) and all homeowners will be required to connect to the sewer line (no septic tanks allowed).
O’Neal said that under the new agreement, the town would realize an income of $595,000, but it would have lost $1.313 million under the old agreement. However, the town has spent $80,000 in legal fees to renegotiate the agreement.
Belhaven has a recycling program in place with its contracted trash-service provider, David’s Trash Service. The trash service has placed recycling bins at the following locations: police station, the town’s maintenance building at Lee Street, municipal building and Charlie Smith Center. Collections will occur monthly, with the following items being accepted for recycling: aluminum cans, steel cans, glass bottles, papers and plastic bottles. Individuals may have monthly curbside service at a cost of $4 per recycling bin.