The Coastland Times, Manteo, N.C., published Friday, May 7, 1948
Big Jump in Taxes Now Faces Dare, In Order to Pay Up Old Bills
Amount of Levy Needed for Next Fiscal Year Must be Set One-Fourth to One-Third More than This Year; Failure to Live Within Budget, and Diversion of Appropriated Money to Other Projects Bringing Headaches to Taxpayers.
Prospects are that Dare County’s taxpayers face another raise this year, which will really pinch where the hair is short. There are old bills to be paid, long delayed repairs to school buildings needed, and many other things to require cash as never before.
On the county’s present valuation of $3.5 million, it may be necessary to increase the rate by one dollar on the hundred dollars of property valuation, which will bring the tax rate up from $2.25 to $3.25, which means that the average home valued at $1,000 will cost the taxpayer $32.50 a year, not to speak of any additional taxes on personal property. Unless there is a considerable increase in property values, the tax rate will have to be even more, in order to pay out.
This increase may be necessary to raise the not less than $35,000 extra that will be needed next year to help the county bring in the funds needed to begin catching up with unpaid bills for the last two years.
The shortage of sufficient income to pay bills is the result of several causes. First among them is the custom of spending more than the current budget, with no safe margin of allowances for taxes not paid in from current levies.
Had the budget been set at something like 25 per cent less than anticipated revenue, the county might have come out on top at the end of each year. But this has not been done. On the other hand, there has been a periodic diversion of funds to new projects that were not provided for when the budget was made up at the beginning of the year.
The result is, the school funds are some $7,000 short of the money needed to pay the preceeding year’s bills.
The county is short some $40,000 needed to keep its bond interest and previously planned curtailment of bonds paid. The result is that the county is now having to float a new bond issue of $321,000 to replace the outstanding bonds, whereby it hopes to get a small reduction in interest and rates and thereby stave off interest payments and get a breathing spell for a couple of years. At the end of this period, it is hoped that the increase in property on the beaches may have brought in sufficient revenue to start making its payments on time.
As matters now stand, it appears that there must be some drastic curtailment of expenses in the county, for to continue on the present operating plan may only result in further financial disaster.