Town Property Values Drop 35% — Tax Rates Will Increase

Cape Charles Wave

April 11, 2013

It was a long time coming, but properties in Cape Charles and Northampton County have finally been reassessed to reflect current values.

Northampton County, which handles assessments for the Town of Cape Charles, had not done a reassessment for five years — before the real estate bubble burst.

According to Town Manager Heather Arcos, the reassessed values in the Town of Cape Charles are 35 percent lower than last year.

For Northampton County overall, values dropped 20 percent, according to County Administrator Katie Nunez.

During the real estate bubble, values swelled more in Cape Charles than elsewhere in the County, and now those Town values have dropped the most.

Rising property values tempt governing bodies to increase their budgets for “free” – that is, without increasing the general tax rate.

But when property values fall, counties and towns are faced with the necessity of increasing the tax rate just to obtain the same amount of money as before.

Northampton County Board of Supervisors would have to increase property taxes from 54 cents to 70 cents per hundred dollars of property value just to maintain the same income as last year.

But since budgets include cost of living increases and other inflationary items, the tax rate could be even higher. [Read more…]

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