Southampton board plans to decrease real estate tax rate

Published 6:00 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Southampton County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Alan W. Edwards said he guarantees the board will be decreasing the real estate tax rate later this year to offset assessment increases that real property owners in the county should be learning about any day now.

With the last county reassessment coming in 2018, another one is due this year.

Amy B. Carr, the county’s commissioner of revenue, reported that the reassessment notices were mailed out Thursday, Feb. 22.

The Board of Supervisors had county staff release a statement in mid-February indicating that the notices would be sent to property owners in the near future, and the statement included details on what owners could expect both from the notices and the board.

“Given the fact the county’s reassessment cycle is every six years and market conditions have changed significantly during that period, assessments are generally higher this year,” the statement reads. “Please be advised that the Board of Supervisors sets the property tax rate during the budget development process and ultimately retains the authority to offset assessment increases through decreasing the tax rate if it so chooses.”

Edwards stated with confidence during a Friday, Feb. 23, interview that the board will be decreasing the real estate tax rate.

“We’ve already talked about that, and yes, I guarantee we will,” he said. “Actually, I think the state law says we can’t make more than 1% in that first year after the reassessment than we did the year before, but we’ve already looked at how much we’re going to have to set (the real estate tax rate) back. It’s going to go back from 89 (cents) now probably to somewhere in the 70s.”

He said he does not know exactly what number it will be, but somewhere in the 70s was his estimate.

“We’ll have to see what things look like,” he said.

He indicated that supervisors understood what real property owners were facing and that they should not panic over the reassessment notices.

“We understand what the economy’s like,” he said.