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Chapel Hill Town Council Eyes Property Tax Rate Increase

By Elizabeth Friend Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

As Chapel Hill Town Council members move closer to approving next year’s budget, some are wondering if it might be time to raise revenue through a property tax rate increase.

Road repair, affordable housing, capital needs and debt capacity are just some of the priorities Council members are looking to balance this budget season.

At a work session on Monday, Council members suggested a one or two cent property tax rate increase might make it possible to restore funding for road repair that was cut during the recession, or finance more affordable housing initiatives.

Though that increase might generate between $755,000 and $1.5 million, the revenue wouldn’t begin to address the estimated $160 million in capital needs facing the town, including demand for new police and fire stations, as well as parks and bikeway improvements.

Council member Matt Czajkowski suggested that if some of that additional revenue were diverted to the town’s debt management fund, it could allow the town to borrow money for capital investment projects sooner than the current 2017 projection.

While Council members didn’t balk at the concept of a second property tax rate increase in two years, they couldn’t agree on how, exactly, that money should be allocated.

In order to hash out those details, the Council will continue its budget work session at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Chapel Hill Public Library. The final version of the 2014-2015 budget will be adopted next Monday.

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