Blowing Rock may increase property taxes
By Jeff Eason
At Tuesday evening’s public meeting of the Blowing Rock Commissioners, town manager Scott Fogleman announced that the town may seek to increase property taxes and other fees to help fund town operations and a number of capital projects and infrastructure needs, including a new public works facility.
Currently the town’s tax rate is 28-cents per $100 of property value, the lowest in Watauga County.
“To help invest in the facilities and staff members who deliver the high quality service levels every day to the citizens of Blowing Rock, the recommended budget for fiscal year 2015 is calling for increased revenues,” said Fogleman.
“The recommended budget includes a mix of tax and fee increases to help raise revenues to fund the upcoming budget.”
Fogleman recommended an increase of 1.8 cents above the revenue neutral rate of 28.7 cents, which followed this year’s Watauga County revaluation process.
The end result would be a property tax rate of 30.5 cents per $100, an increase of 6.3%. This increase would result in an additional tax amount owed of $90 per year for a home valued at $500,000.
According to Fogleman, Blowing Rock had a certified population of 1,267 in 1991, which increased only slightly to a certified population of 1,286 in 2014. With very little new home construction taking place during that time, the county’s new revaluation is a decrease in value from the previous revaluation, which occurred in 2007.
“Real property in the Town of Blowing Rock dropped 2.34%, or $24.1 million as the result of the revaluation process that assigned values as of January 1, 2014,” said Fogleman.
Fogleman’s department will meet with council members in budget workshops scheduled for May 20, 21 and 22 and a public hearing will be held at the June 10 Council meeting to adopt a new budget for 2015.
In other town council news, the commissioners voted unanimously to:
· Approve a $1,081.98 grant from the Blowing Rock ABC Board to the Town of Blowing Rock to purchase two additional field breath alcohol level instruments.
· Approve a request from representatives of the High Country Half Marathon to use the streets of the town for that race on Saturday, August 30.
· Approve two amendments necessary for the town’s Section 125/Cafeteria Plan to comply with changes specified under the Affordable Care Act. The changes are regarding the transitional relief status and changes regarding eligibility.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Blowing Rock resident Pat Kingsbury expressed her concerns about the exit from the Blowing Rock Post Office leading onto Main Street.
“There is a safety issue exiting onto Main Street,” said Kingsbury. “Making a left turn is dangerous because of the parked cars. What can be done? My proposal would be to put a traffic mirror opposite this exit.”
According to Kingsbury, a mirror similar to the one on Chestnut Street near the Blowing Rock Hospital would increase visibility for motorists entering Main Street from the Post Office.
The council thanked Kingsbury for her suggestion and said they would look into the matter.
The next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council will take place at Town Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10.