07/05/05 — Tax bills would be delayed

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Tax bills would be delayed

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 5, 2005 1:45 PM

Hundreds of potential new Goldsboro residents will not receive city property tax bills for more than a year, regardless of whether they're annexed tonight.

The City Council is scheduled to vote at 7 p.m. tonight on whether to bring 475 acres along Salem Church and Buck Swamp roads into the city limits. The area includes about 380 homes and 1,120 residents.

If the council proceeds with the annexation, it is expected to be effective Sept. 30. The city would begin police, fire, garbage and other city services in October. The extension of sewer lines would have to be completed within two years.

The city would pay about $520,000 a year to serve the annexation area.

But Goldsboro would be unable to bill these residents for property taxes on their residences until fall 2006, an annexation expert said today.

Because these homes would be added to the city mid-year, Goldsboro could only charge them property taxes on a pro-rated scale, said David Lawrence, a professor of public law at the UNC School of Government.

If the annexation date is Sept. 30, the city would only be allowed to bill for nine months of services, Lawrence said in a telephone interview.

That would mean the owner of a $200,000 home, a typical value for the area, would be liable for $975 in city taxes, as compared to $1,300 for a full year.

But the city would also be forced to include these charges on the county's 2006 tax bills, which would be mailed in August 2006 and could be paid without interest until January 2007.

City Manager Joe Huffman acknowledged this morning that the city might have to dip into its reserves this year.

"It would be a cash-flow issue at the start, but it would all even out in the end," he said.

Should annexation proceed, residents would be liable for city property taxes on their vehicles. The bill for a $30,000 vehicle would be $195, under the city's current tax rate.

Also, residents would be billed $13 a month for garbage and recyclable collection, effective October.

However, residents have said that they will continue to fight against annexation in court, which could forestall the effective date even further.

Other business

The City Council also has several land-use decisions on tonight's agenda, including Wayne County's proposal to build a 300-foot communications tower near the old Wayne Community College campus.

The tower would be built at the corner of Humphrey and Eighth streets, near the old Wayne Community College campus. If built, it will become the main transmitter of a new radio communications system for the county's 911 center.

The council will also consider a rezoning request by CCP of Goldsboro, LLC, for 18 acres between Wendell Street and Lockhaven Drive, off Wayne Memorial Drive, from residential uses. The requested zoning would allow offices or multi-family housing. The developer has not filed specific plans.

Pediatric Play Therapy has submitted landscaping plans for a house on the south side of Tommy's Road, between Hare Road and Green Circle, that it intends to use as an office.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. tonight in the council's chambers, Goldsboro City Hall, 214 N. Center St. It will be televised live on PACC-10 (Channel 10 on Time-Warner Cable).