Over the last two weeks, we on the Durham City Council have been debating one final budget issue: whether or not to replace the solid waste fee with a small property tax increase.
Aside from the outcome of that debate, the council is considering a tax-rate increase of 1.79 cents per $100 of valuation to pay for additional police officers and firefighters, fund basic park maintenance, and retire debt that the voters took on when they voted to issue bonds to pave our city streets.
What would an increase of 1.79 cents on the tax rate mean for you? Here’s the math: If you own a $200,000 home in Durham, you’ll pay an additional $35.80 in taxes. I know exactly how that feels. I pay taxes just like you do.
The good news is that I see how hard our tax dollars work in the city of Durham. Here’s a sampling of what our property taxes pay for. Last year, our taxes made it possible to
That’s just a taste of what your taxes pay for. How about your water bill? It’s going up a little bit this year, too. What does it buy you? For starters, it pays to clean our city’s wastewater, 18 million gallons of it every day. In addition, when you turn on your tap at home, you expect safe, clean, tasty water to flow out in unlimited quantities, and that’s exactly what you get for that water bill you pay. In Durham, we use 26 million gallons of clean water every single day – drawn from our reservoirs, treated in our water plants, and piped right into the homes of 80,000 customers like you. Not bad, I’d say.
Thanks to the leadership of City Manager Tom Bonfield and to the 2,400 city employees who work so hard on our behalf, in Durham our taxes and fees are working hard, too.
Steve Schewel is a member of the Durham City Council.