April 11, 2022
Dear Blowing Rock Homeowners,
TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
The Town Council released the agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting at 6pm.
Please go to Agenda on the Town website to review the agenda.
There are four presentations on the agenda:
1. Light Up Watauga
2. New River Conservancy
3. History Walk
4. Parking Committee
You can tune into the meeting at Meeting Video .
PROPERTY TAX REVALUATIONS
We all recently received our new property tax valuations from Watauga County. Revaluations are done every 7 years by Watauga County. Caldwell County that represents about 8% of the Blowing Rock tax base was revalued last year.
Before you freak out, you need to understand the “Roll Back” process. The Town will disclose to you the neutral tax rate called the “Roll Back Rate” based on the average increase for the Town before they vote on any tax rate increases for next fiscal year. The County will do the same. So, there is a reset in total.
Let me share a simple example to illustrate the process. If the overall increase in the Town’s tax base increases 30%, the Town will calculate and disclose the “Roll Back Rate” by reducing the current 43 cents rate to 30 cents.
If your percentage increase for your individual property valuation is equal to or less than the average increase for the entire Town, your starting point for Blowing Rock property taxes will not exceed your current property taxes. The same is true for the County.
We do expect that certain areas of the Town will experience increases higher than the average due to the recent surge in the real estate market.
We requested a copy of the tax roll from Watuaga County to analyze the increases by type of property (residential, land and commercial) and by area. The current tax base for Blowing Rock grows organically about 2% per year from new construction and is just below $1.2B. The County shared in their public updates the increases are likely to be at least 30% overall.
The property tax base for Blowing Rock is approximately 85% residential and 15% commercial. Property taxes fund 60% of the “Spendable Budget” followed by 13% for consumer paid sales taxes and 5% for tourist paid occupancy taxes.
Blowing Rock has a Residential, Business and Tourism Economy. We hear a lot about tourism, but our residential economy is the backbone of the Town’s budget. Reliance on residential property taxes is typical of resort towns, raising a long-term challenge for the Town to expand revenue from the commercial tax base by encouraging new commercial construction and considering business district improvement taxes to fund tourism support expenditures. Occupancy taxes paid by tourists has increased substantially over the last two years (50% and 30%) providing some additional revenue to the Town for tourism support expenditures, but this allocation to the Town is the only direct revenue from tourism.
Based on the Winter Retreat, the Town has identified major long-term infrastructure needs for parks, roads and water management that will need to be funded by the General Fund budget. Parking improvements to manage tourism related congestion will be funded by designated parking revenues rather than the General Fund budget. Fortunately, the NC legislative appropriation of $4.8M together with W&S revenues will allow the W&S Fund to address much needed W&S projects.
We appreciate the long-term planning being done by the Town Manager and Town Council to meet the changing needs of our community. We also appreciate the Town’s commitment to seek community input in making these decisions.
So, stay tune for updates from the Town and the Civic Association.
Tim Gupton, President