Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Elon, Graham mgrs. join in proposing budgets with large property tax hikes – far above ‘revenue neutral’ after reval


Two more local municipal governments unveiled their proposed taxing and spending plans for the next fiscal year this week, and both included hefty hikes in the property tax rates well above the “revenue neutral” levels.

On Tuesday night, Graham city manager Megan Garner and Elon town manager Richard Roedner outlined their proposals to their respective city and town councils.

Both presented plans that significantly exceed the “revenue neutral” calculations that the county has estimated for each jurisdiction.

Roedner’s recommended tax rate for Elon, 35 cents per $100 (which is down from the current rate of 45 cents per $100), is about 14.2 percent above the 30.66 cents that would be the revenue neutral rate estimated to bring in the same amount of revenue at the new revaluation figures.

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Read details of Elon town manager Richard Roedner’s proposed budget for the town of Elon:

Similarly, Garner’s proposal for Graham, also 35 cents per $100 (down from 45.5 cents per $100 valuation), is almost 21 percent (6.01 cents per $100, or 20.73 percent) above the revenue neutral rate of 28.99 cents for that city.

Read details of Graham city manager Megan Garner’s proposed budget for the city of Graham:

The latest figures from the county tax administrator actually put Graham’s revenue neutral level even a fraction of a cent lower, at 28.68 cents per $100 valuation. [See separate story in this edition for updates on all revenue neutral projections.]

Both managers include cost-of-living increases for all of their respective municipality’s employees. Garner proposed 5 percent in Graham; Roedner recommended a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all of the town’s municipal staff members as well as the continuation of “temporary” 2-percent bonuses that the town’s current budget proposes to extend for another fiscal year.

Elon proposes an additional full-time firefighter as well as three part-time positions – an inspector in the fire department (to handle duties now undertaken by the county), one in the recreation department, and another to handle the farmer’s market and downtown programs.

Prior to these additions, Elon currently has 63 full-time employees and 6 permanent part-time, according to Roedner’s budget.

Garner is proposing two new employees – one in planning and another in human resources.
Both jurisdictions also have proposed hikes in water and sewer rates – 5 percent in Elon, to account for Burlington’s higher rates, Roedner said, and 7 percent in Graham.

Earlier this year, tax administrator Jeremy Akins estimated the amount and percentage increase in property tax values that individual cities and towns could expect after revaluation.

The county average, Akins told commissioners, is up 79.43 percent.  Graham had the highest percentage increase in real taxable property, according to Akins, at 86.94 percent, while Elon’s was significantly below the average – in fact, the lowest of any county municipality – at 62.41 percent.

Read the newspaper’s editorial opinion on the tax rates being proposed in Elon and Graham:

Read coverage of earlier budget proposals for:



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