NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Both the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are proposing to lower the tax rate, but with recent property revaluations, homeowners will end up paying possibly hundreds more in taxes this year.
Property valuations are up 33% on average in 2021 due to the county’s recent revaluation, the first since 2017.
For example, a home worth $200,000 in 2020 is now worth $266,000. Last year, the city tax rate of $0.4984 and the county rate of $0.555 per $100 in property would put the total tax bill of a home in city limits at $2,106.80.
State law mandates governments publish the revenue-neutral tax rate during the year of revaluations (calculated to include projected growth). For the city, the revenue-neutral rate is $0.375, a $0.123 reduction. In the county, the revenue-neutral rate is $0.425, a $0.13 reduction.
Both the city and county are proposing to increase the tax rate from the revenue-neutral rate to fund certain projects. While the proposed tax rates are technically lower than the current rate, residents will likely pay more because of the higher valuation of their property.
The city needs additional revenue to fund affordable housing initatives, including increasing funding for its Home Ownership Program and rental rehabilitation program, according to a budget presentation Tuesday.
In New Hanover County, additional revenue will mostly go toward increasing per-pupil expenditures and teacher pay.
The city is proposing a $0.3808 tax rate and the county is recommending a $0.475 rate. For the same home now valued at $266,000, that would mean a $2,276.42 total tax bill, a $169.92 increase from the year prior.
New Hanover County manager Chris Coudriet acknowledged the 33% value increase was “eye-catching” and described the new tax rate as “the lowest rate in recent history” for the county.
“Even though we’re recommending to you a rate north of revenue-neutral, the rate of 47.5 [cents] is still less than any rate in modern history as it relates to New Hanover County,” he said during a Monday budget presentation.
Compared to fiscal year 2015-2016, the county’s taxable base is up nearly 59% to $47.9 billion.
Both the city and the county have not yet adopted budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year, which will begin in July.
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