Durham working to help low-income families with rising property taxes

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A loan plan to help low-income families pay rising property taxes in Durham failed Monday, but members of that community and some city officials say it’s for the best.

The City of Durham invested millions of dollars into area neighborhoods, and new homes are being built.

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However, older, lower income residents say they are struggling to pay the rising property taxes.

“Do I sell my home to go elsewhere, like others have done? We’re losing our neighborhood,” said Rita McDaniel who lives in the Southside of Durham.

City officials pitched a plan to give four-year loans to low-income people. Residents would not have to pay the back the loan until they moved.

McDaniel says she thinks this plan would end up hurting lower income families.

“In a lot of ways, we’re setting our older community up. Because if the property taxes keep increasing, even though it’s only every four years, but you give me a deferred payment, you have little to nothing to work with,” McDaniel said.

CBS North Carolina took these concerns to members of city council.

“Responding to those concerns, I say let’s give a one year grant and then figure it out,” said Durham City Council Member Steve Schewel.

Schewel says the city’s proposed loan program would not do enough for the Durham community.

In a split decision, Schewel was able to get his plan through.

Now residents will receive grant money to handle the property tax increases this year and the city will go back to the drawing board to find a long-term solution

The city’s original loan proposal would was budgeted for nearly $600,000.

The dollar amount the approved grant program will cost was not discussed during Monday night’s council meeting.

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