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Tax Department Sends Out $34 Million Worth of Property Tax Bills in Watauga County

By Jesse Wood

Local property owners should begin seeing their tax bills in the mail.

Watauga County Tax Administrator Larry Warren said that his office mailed out more than 50,000 property tax bills at the beginning of the month. Those bills are valued at $34,079,343, while real property taxed in Watauga County is valued at $9,654,204,908.

The bills are higher than last year because of the 4-cent tax increase approved by the Watauga County Board of Commissioners earlier this year. Still with one of the lowest property tax rates in the state, Watauga County’s tax rate is 35.3 cents per $100 valuation. With this tax increase, property owners are now paying about $40 extra per $100,000 valuation, according to Warren.

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners are using the extra $3.52 million in annual revenue from the tax increase to fund a community rec center and the long-term Capital Improvement Plan for Watauga County Schools.

In 2016, Watauga County sent out $26,534,889 worth of property tax bills. Warren said that the tax increase along with new construction contributed to this year’s higher tax number. 

“Well that and we’ve had some pretty big properties come on like The Standard and the Hampton Hotel,” Warren said.

Revenue from property taxes has historically represented 50 to 60 percent of total revenues. The county will see the bulk of the $34,079,343 levied on taxable properties as the tax department’s collection rate is 98.81 percent at last count, according to Warren.

Payment is due by Jan. 5, 2017. The tax department offers payment plans. If the taxes aren’t paid in full by Jan. 5, then 2 percent interest will be charged for the first month and three-quarters of a percent each month thereafter.

For more info, call the Watauga County Tax Department at 828-265-8021.