“We already have the highest tax rate in the area!”

Published 11:57 am Saturday, April 9, 2016

A common misconception that a number of residents in Southampton County have is that they pay one of the highest real estate tax rates in the region. Never mind the fact that a graphic published in Friday’s edition of The Tidewater News proved the contrary, that fallacy will be among the chief complaints voiced by said residents until the county’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget is adopted in late May.

If the budget is approved, the real estate tax rate will rise 5 cents from $0.77 to $0.82. It will still be 6 cents lower than Isle of Wight County’s proposed budget, 17 cents lower than the City of Franklin and 25 cents lower than the City of Suffolk.

At only 8 cents above the state average, Southampton County’s proposed $0.82 real estate tax rate is nowhere near the highest in the commonwealth; that honor belongs to the City of Manassas Park, which pays $1.55 cents per $100.

So how is it that surrounding counties such as Greensville and Gates, North Carolina, have lower real estate tax rates than Southampton County? Unlike our locality, they’ve opened their doors to the development of industries, which in turn help pay lower their taxes.

With major thoroughfares such as routes 58 and 460 sending trucks to and from Hampton Roads, Southampton County should be looked at as prime real estate for new businesses and industrial development. If the aversion for bringing something into the county to help supplement the increasing tax rate doesn’t change, maybe the words which you falsely speak aren’t too far off in the distance.