Orange County NC Provides Homeowner Assistance With Property Tax Billing


Orange County homeowners struggling to pay their growing property taxes could get relief through a new county program.

The Orange County Council of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to set aside $ 250,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to pay for a pilot long-term homeowner assistance program.

“Right now, I am happy that we are able to ensure that people can stay in their homes,” said Commissioners Chair Renee Price.

The county will launch the program on Friday and accept applications until 5 p.m. on December 15. Interested residents can get more information and apply online at

Applications can also be picked up from the Orange County Housing and Community Development offices at 300 W. Tryon St., Third Floor, Hillsborough, and 2501 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. Once completed, they can be placed in drop boxes outside Housing and Community Development offices or mailed to Orange County Housing and Community Development, PO Box 8181, Hillsborough, NC 27278

The program will help pay the increase in a homeowner’s property tax bill this year and is only available to residents who have lived in their homes for 10 years or more. To qualify, residents can only earn up to 80% of the region’s median income: $ 48,400 per year for a single person to $ 69,100 for a family of four.

The Orange County program is similar to the tax programs already in place in Durham and Charlotte, as well as a new program launched this week by the County Durham Department of Social Services and the County Durham Tax Office . The County of Durham program offers tax relief to homeowners earning up to 30% of the region’s median income – $ 18,150 per year for an individual to $ 26,500 for a family of four.

Residents of Orange County can get help applying for the Long Term Homeowner Assistance Program through the Housing Helpline at 919-245-2655 or by email at HousingHelp @ orangecountync. gov.

The Department of Housing and Community Development would provide a credit to the tax office for each qualifying taxpayer bill.

Higher taxes for homeowners

Deputy county manager Travis Myren estimates the program could help about 14% of landowners in the county, or 1,378 households.

The average property tax increase this year for homeowners in this group was $ 158, he said, and qualifying homeowners would need to verify their income.

Commissioners are expected to find additional funds to continue the program, which was sparked by big jumps in property tax values ​​this year that have left many low-income homeowners struggling to pay their tax bills.

The state and county already offer tax assistance to some homeowners, including seniors, veterans, farmers, and people with disabilities.

Once launched, the Long-Term Homeowner Assistance Program is unlikely to stop, Commissioner Earl McKee said.

“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing,” he said. “I’m just saying that I don’t think once started this program will stop, and it probably shouldn’t, because we have an issue with the urbanization and gentrification of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough, and from all over the county. . “

The county’s pilot program was modeled on a similar program that the nonprofit Marian Cheek Jackson Center launched with a $ 40,000 grant over three years to help low-income residents of Chapel Hill’s three historically black neighborhoods.

Neighbors from Northside, Tin Top and Pine Knolls turned to the county for help in April after seeing their property values ​​rise from 20% to over 86%. Jackson Center executive director George Barrett estimated that meeting the need could cost an additional $ 20,000.

“I think first and foremost that there is something that we should always consider and that should be at the center of this conversation, is that we continue our work to correct the inequitable system so that it does not happen again, because we also know that ( …) many African Americans and communities of color across the country, ”Barrett said.

The Orange report

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Tammy Grubb has been writing about politics, people, and government in Orange County since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.

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