We Are Improving!

We hope that you'll find our new look appealing and the site easier to navigate than before. Please pardon any 404's that you may see, we're trying to tidy those up!  Should you find yourself on a 404 page please use the search feature in the navigation bar.  

User Rating: 4 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Inactive

In the recent article City manager proposes 64-cent tax rate for FY 24-25, the city manager was quoted as saying, “The city of Roanoke Rapids has not done an intentional tax increase to bring in more revenue since I’ve been employed by the city.”  

Somehow this statement was made despite an obvious and consistent increase in both net revenue and receipts from ad valorem taxes occurring year after year in the data that the city provided. 

We can see that over the three fiscal years from FY22 to FY24, Ad Valorem Tax revenue increased from $7,134,672 to $7,599,702, an increase of 6.5 percent.  

Total revenue from all sources increased from $15,970,253 to $17,409,488, an increase of 9 percent.  

As the city’s own numbers prove, whether intentional or not, it has brought in more revenue each year.  

Now they’re asking for more. 

Again, to paraphrase the city manager’s comment, we need to intentionally increase taxes to bring in more revenue.  

Conveniently, this tax increase just so happens to coincide with property revaluations.  

Let’s pretend for a second that the revaluations never happened, and the city manager is still asking for $9,216,172 in ad valorem tax revenue. 

What would that intentional tax increase look like?  

To find out, we can use basic algebra. The formula to find the ad valorem tax revenue is this:

Because the rate is not a normal percent, but rather the rate per $100, it must be adjusted by moving the decimal two places to the left. 

In other words, multiply by .01.  

Now plug in the numbers the city provided to verify the formula works:

It does. 

Now back to the original question, what rate would be needed under the old valuation to reach the proposed tax levy?  

To solve for an unknown rate, we can use basic eighth grade math skills to find a formula:

Now we plug in the proposed tax levy, leave the valuation the same since we want to know what this increase would have needed to be if they asked for it last year, and solve:

To get $9,216,172, the tax rate would have needed to increase to 0.828 from 0.661, an increase of 25.26 percent.

Fellow citizens, did you receive a 25 percent raise at your job last year? 

For some reason, despite revenues already increasing year over year, rampant inflation, interest rates remaining steady at an all-time high, and all the current uncertainty in the economy, our city government thinks it’s a good idea to burden us with a 25 percent increase in property taxes.  

There is no way anyone would have dared propose our tax rate to go up to 0.828 from 0.661 last year.  

The numbers are being concealed in property revaluations.  

The events of 2008 taught us how easily home values can crash.  

We should not base our tax policy on valuations that have previously proven to be unstable and prone to miscalculation.  

These are people’s homes that they live in, not stocks to be swapped and traded for a quick profit. 

No reasonable person would argue that taxes should never go up.  

Our city employees deserve to be paid a fair amount for all the hard work they provide, and if a reasonable tax increase would get there, it should be done.  

However, this proposal is too much. 

Remember, the city manager made this troubling statement, “The budget provides sufficient funds to maintain the current level of city services while beginning to think strategically about future needs and capital projects.” 

This is only the beginning. 

Apparently, there are still more increases to come.  

Is the city manager intentionally trying to harm the city?

 Absolutely not. 

Is she on the verge of making a very large mistake? Unfortunately so. 

Whether you agree with the conclusions reached in this article or not, we all need to reach out to our elected officials and let them know what we think.  

To Mayor Doughtie and the city council: 

Each of you either asked to be elected to your positions or accepted an appointment to serve out the remaining term of a vacated seat.  

You wanted a hard job and we all believed that you could do it, otherwise we wouldn’t have voted for you.  

Think of where you want the city to be a year from now.  

More importantly, think of what kind of city you want Roanoke Rapids to be three generations from now.  

This tax increase will put a burden on our citizens that will not be easily lifted.  

Roanoke Rapids will not tax and spend its way to the prosperous future our children deserve.  Please use common sense and think outside the box to find a realistic solution.  

If a small increase is needed for our employees’ sake, so be it.  

Let it be a reasonable increase while taking steps to ensure the money actually makes its way to the employees’ paychecks.  

Be the good stewards you were elected to be.  

Do not only what is best for your everyday constituents, but what is best for the generations to come.  

Jonathan Benthall

Roanoke Rapids