Chatham County commissioners vote for property tax increase of 3%

Pittsboro, NC – On June 5, 2023, the Chatham County Manager’s Office unveiled an amended fiscal year 2023-24 budget of $180.3 million at the Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting. The budget includes a property tax increase of three percent.

The Board held a budget work session on May 23 after two public hearings on May 15 and May 16. While the Board acknowledged that the recommended budget met many of its goals, they received additional information from agencies and individuals that further illuminated the impact the County’s pay is having on its ability to retain and recruit talented staff.

Understanding the bigger picture and the current circumstances around staffing challenges and competitive salaries, the Board felt inclined to address this deficiency. Therefore, it unanimously voted to direct staff to revise the budget with a three percent tax rate increase of 2 cents ($0.02) to 68.5 cents per $100 of property valuation.

“This is a difficult decision in complicated times – but absolutely essential,” claims Board of Commissioners Chair Karen Howard. “We have the most talented, dedicated, and passionate staff in Chatham County, and we see the moderate increase as a way to invest in quality candidates for every department. Taking this step is something that the Board felt it could directly impact to ensure that the County can keep these individuals and continue to provide exceptional services to our flourishing community.”

The county commissioners voted for the tax increase despite the fact that the county expects a 19 percent increase in sales tax revenue. Fees collected from permits and inspections are expected to soar 78 percent. That’s mainly from new commercial and industrial projects coming to the county in the next year.

The county budget does add 36 new positions to supposedly help manage the services needed for all the growth.

Chatham County claims that the tax increase will allow the county to keep the allotted 7% pay increase for employee pay raises, while also providing an additional $4,400 pay increase for each employee. Like the proposed 7% increase, the additional $4,400 pay increase is available to all permanent employees who meet or exceed expectations according to their annual review. The $4,400 amount will be prorated based on full-time equivalency.

The amended budget also adds a full-time Elections Systems Technician position to the Chatham County Board of Elections.

For property owners to better understand the impact on their taxes, every one cent increase on the ad valorem tax rate has an impact of $10 for every $100,000 of valuation. The chart below provides a sample of a range of home values:

Home ValueCurrent: 66.5 cents/$100Proposed: 68.5 cents/$100$ Increase
$300,000$1,995$2,055$60
$400,000$2,660$2,740$80
$500,000$3,325$3,425$100
$600,000$3,990$4,110$120

The chart below provides a comparison of current and proposed (FY24) tax rates of Chatham and surrounding counties:

State law requires the Board to approve the budget no later than June 30.