Letter to the Editor: Let’s talk about the solar credit ‘shell game’

Published 1:40 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023

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Dear Editor,

The stated goal in the Charlotte County 2022/2023 revenue ordinance was to return surplus real property tax revenues of $500,000 generated under the Randolph Solar Siting Agreement. However, the County only returned $316,532, shortchanging taxpayers $183,468.

It is unfortunate County officials did not closely read the lead article in the October 26, 2022, edition of this paper for guidance. This paper provided a clear example that on a taxpayer’s $100,000 assessed value the solar credit would be $50 for a tax reduction from $620 to $570. This is the same as a 5 cent tax rate reduction from 62 to 57 cents per $100 assessed value. Instead, using this example’s numbers, the County only provided solar credit of 5% of the $620 or a $31 credit, thus shortchanging the taxpayer $19.

This shortchanging could have been avoided if the Supervisors had simply adjusted the tax rate from 62 cents to 57 cents per $100 assessed value. Instead, Supervisors created a complex process requiring last minute changes to the tax system software. The true tax rate is masked with an annual credit setting process and the credit’s computation is undisclosed on the tax bill.

A possible reason Supervisors, with an upcoming election, chose the solar credit was to make taxpayers feel good about controversial solar projects by showing a solar credit on tax bills. Do you feel better when the County overcharges you on real estate taxes, promises to refund the overcharge, and then only returns part of overcharge?

If you are not fooled by the Supervisor’s solar credit “shell game,” I urge you to contact your Supervisor and provide input at the public hearing at 1:30 p.m. on September 11th. Ask them to be straightforward, lower the tax rate from 62 to 57 cents per $100 assessed value, and quit playing games.

Terry Ramsey

Charlotte Court House