Chapel Hill cuts rate 15%

Staff WriterJune 9, 2009 

— The Town Council cut the tax rate by 15 percent Monday, partially offsetting a townwide increase in property values from last year's countywide revaluation and holding the town's revenue from property taxes at its current level.

The 2009-10 tax rate of 49.4 cents per $100 of assessed property value would mean a Chapel Hill homeowner with a $300,000 house would pay roughly $1,500 in town taxes.

Coupled with a countywide tax rate expected to come in at 86 cents per $100 or lower, the owner of the $300,000 house would pay about $4,100 in town and county property taxes next year.

That does not include the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools special district tax, which last year ran about 20 cents per $100.

The town is able to trim last year's 58-cent tax rate by dipping into about $2.5 million set aside through cost-saving measures implemented last fall amid the global economic crisis. The town also avoids a major tax increase, despite about $6 million in annual debt obligations, lower sales-tax revenue, and a 17 percent increase in employee health coverage.

The budget proposes no layoffs or furloughs, and no salary increases for town employees. The town will siphon $3.1 million from its fund balance but should still be able to maintain its AAA bond rating with a fund balance of 12 percent of its $49.8 million budget.

The town also avoided adding to its $60 million debt load by delaying $20 million in taxpayer-authorized borrowing at least until next spring, most notably for the expansion and renovation of the Chapel Hill Public Library.

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or 919-932-8760

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