Many of our neighbors and friends were shocked when they opened their envelopes that revealed the results of the 2021 revaluation … and understandably so. While the process was conducted according to NC state statute, it brought to light and exacerbated structural and systemic inequities.
I have heard and read the concerns regarding the Northside neighborhood, yet the concerns also exist in Tin Top, Pine Knolls, and rural Northern Orange. Longtime and lifelong residents have seen their property values double in just a few years, and the increase in property taxes will be burdensome, even with exemptions and financial assistance.
Indeed, a challenge is before us. On Friday, April 23, Delores Bailey, George Barrett, Kathy Atwater, Beverly Scarlett and I met with Nancy Freeman, Chad Phillips and Roger Gunn of the Orange County Tax Assessors Office to discuss and plan a strategy for addressing the issues with the recent tax revaluation. We considered both short-term and long-term actions, noting the urgency to act within the timeframe mandated by State statute and the need to make systemic changes.
For the short term, we will encourage and assist residents in filing the appeals form or writing a brief letter requesting to appeal the appraisal or valuation of the property. If writing a letter, be sure it includes the address of the property and contact information of the property owner.
Long-term, community members and OC staff will work together to paint accurate portraits of our urban and rural neighborhoods, using data from the appeals process and on-the-ground, in-person reviews. I sincerely hope that we can stabilize and preserve our historic communities.
The North Carolina Black Alliance held its Annual Black Summit as a virtual experience on April 22 and 23, and the theme was, Focused on the Fight, Facing the Future. Our own NC Senator Valerie Foushee, President of the NCBA Board of Directors, served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Each year, we highlight our trailblazers or history makers, and this year former Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey, Jr. was among the honorees and offered words of wisdom from his career in public service and community engagement.
As always, the Summit included speakers and workshops. One major takeaway was the importance and significance of protecting the vote, particularly for Black women and men. Efforts to disenfranchise specific sectors of Americans are underway, so we must continuously urge people to register to vote, be informed about the candidates and issues, and then make a promise, “I will vote.”
Buckhorn Area Plan
If you are interested in keeping abreast of the Buckhorn Area Plan and if you want to offer your input, please plan to attend the Community Outreach Meeting on Monday, May 17, from 6-8 p.m. Orange County Planning Department staff will be hosting this community outreach meeting and providing the materials and zoom link. Contact Tom Altieri (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions about the plan. Information about how to join the meeting will be posted on the Current Interest Projects page when it is available