The county is well-off and taxes are high

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Charlotte County’s finances are in good shape with much cash safely tucked away in the local bank.

The county just received its annual audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. Audits show that during the last four years, the county’s unassigned general fund balance (surplus) has increased from $7,915,903 to $11,275,809, an increase of $3,359,906 or more than 42 percent.

The county increased real estate tax rates in 2014 from $0.42 to $0.48 and again in 2016 from $0.48 to $0.53, a four-year increase of $0.11 or more than 26 percent (tax rates are per $100 of assessed value). As taxes increased, so has the surplus.

A comparison with Lunenburg County shows their real estate tax rate is $0.38 per $100 of assessed value, which is $0.15 or 28 percent less than Charlotte. Lunenburg’s personal property, machinery and tools and merchant’s capital tax rates are also significantly lower than Charlotte.

While a reasonable surplus is needed for operating cash, too much surplus can indicate excessive taxes.

I believe the numbers are clear that Charlotte County has high property taxes, an increasingly large surplus and much cash in the local bank.

Terry Ramsey is a resident of Charlotte Court House and can be contacted at Terrill.