Town of Blowing rock Spending and Property Taxes Exploding

Wilcpen ( Details
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 4:09 PM


Friends – The Town of Blowing Rock over the past four years has been spending at an unprecedented rate. Town property taxes have increased by 32.1%!!! over the past four years. Town basic water and sewer rates have increase by 23.9%!!! over the past four years. An additional 16.2%!!! in property tax increases and more water and sewer rate increases are planned by the Town over the next four years for bond related expenditures alone. Blowing Rock population and property tax values have remained basically unchanged during the last four years. The cost of living has increased by less than 5% over the past four years. THESE TAX INCREASES ARE FORCING AND WILL FORCE HOMEOWNERS OF LIMITED MEANS OUT OF BLOWING ROCK. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT TAX INCREASES DEPRESS PROPERTY VALUES AS LOCATING OUTSIDE TOWN LIMITS BECOMES A BETTER ECONOMIC DECISION. THE TOWN GOVERNMENT CURRENTLY APPEARS TO BE MUCH MORE FOCUSED ON TOURISM THAN ON HOMEOWNERS WHO PAY 83% OF THE TOWN PROPERTY TAXES.

1. The Town plans to add $ 3,700,000 in bond debt this year. The Town has previously issued $ 4,630,000 in bonds.
2. General Budget Town expenditures ( expenses other than bond expenditures) will increase by $ 1,560,278 this year, a 16.85%!!! increase over last year.
3. The Town General Budget (expenses other than bond expenditures) has increased by $ 4,505,074 in four years, a 71.33% !!! increase.
4. Town Personnel expenditures have increased by $ 2,244,000 in four years, a 100.9% !!! increase.
5. Town Debt Service has increased by $ 373,000/yr., 27.6%!!!, over the past four years.
6. Town budget increases and tax increases for debt service are locked in for many years after all authorized bond money is borrowed and spent. So even after all bond money has been spent Town budgets will be high due to debt service.
7. Blowing Rock’s high property tax values will not be reviewed for adjustments until 2022. Market values of many homes have not increased from recession lows. Some properties have higher tax values than market values.
8. The Town’s outside engineering firm McGill identified over $ 30,000,000 of infrastructure needs in the Town before the 2014 bond issues were approved. To date despite the town’s having spent millions of dollars of bond money much of Green Hill Road from Highway 321 to the Parkway is still breaking up. Other town streets have similar problems. Meantime the Town has spent considerable time and taxpayers’ money ineffectively focusing on beautification of Sunset Drive.Town time has also been spent on a Public Art Policy that asks the Town to contribute significant taxpayers’ money to art and a theater project at the vacant Old Fire Station that apparently will require substantial taxpayers’ money. THE PUBLIC ART POLICY IS ON TOMORROW NIGHT’S TOWN COUNCIL AGENDA. MEETING STARTS AT 6:00 P.M. AT TOWN HALL. Obviously the arts and beautification are very important to Blowing Rock and Blowing Rock residents, full time and seasonal,  who are uniquely generous in supporting these efforts with time and money. Considering, however, the stress on local taxpayers, focusing on the identified infrastructure needs of the community would appear to require that those needs be THE TOP TOWN PRIORITY.

If you have concerns about any of these matters you can express these concerns by emailing:
Mayor J.B. Lawrence                       
Council Member Doug Matheson    
Council Member Ray Pickett           
Council Member Jim Steele            
Council Member Sue Sweeting       
Council Member Albert Yount         

Best regards,

George Wilcox
Blowing Rock Civic Association

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