Disenfranchised in Chatham County: The struggle of low income residents

By Mark Stinson

Bear Creek, NC- It has become perfectly clear that the Chatham County Commissioners do not want anyone low income, retired, fixed income or even middle income to live in Chatham County. With the current tax rate being increased by 4 cents per $100 of evaluation the people who are impacted the most are low income home owners.

photo from Freepik

Water rates are up now 15 percent and other county fees directly hit all the thousands of low to middle income folks in Chatham.  Even with the tax break for seniors and people on disabilities, property taxes are still oppressive to people on low incomes. We are not wanted here. This part of the county doesn’t even have a commissioner dedicated to our needs that listens to our voiced needs and desires. We, the people of western and southern Chatham are truly disenfranchised. Our votes don’t count. The majority of our tax dollars go to infrastructure in the northeastern corner of the county. 

The problem is that for most of us the cost of living has shot up so much more than our income we are falling behind.  I saw a report on WRAL-TV5 this morning that 45 percent of Americans are falling behind on bills.  We start doing without before letting bills pile up. Then when bills pile up, we stop spending on things we really need to get by just to pay bills. Then all these bright commissioners say well we need more money. Fork it over. We don’t care if you have electricity, pay your bills or have to walk to work; you WILL pay us more taxes.

It is wrong to be literally taxed and fee’d out of your home, but that is what is happening in Chatham County. Chatham is now becoming a bedroom community for the wealthy. One of the commissioners made a comment years ago that she didn’t live near poor people. Now she is making every effort she can to run them out of the county. Elderly, poor, disabled and low income be damned. They got to go!  

We have no say so or rights anymore. We just have to suck it up or go.