The affordable-housing problem must be attacked on three fronts:

(I) – By creating housing opportunities for those who serve honorably in occupations where pay scales do not rise to the level that allow them to afford quality residences in the jurisdictions in which they serve, and

(Ia) – By having the Town publicize programs that assist and advise cost-burdened homeowners in financial distress. This federal program has allocated $273 million to the State of North Carolina to make grants to homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure because of falling behind in making mortgage payments or real-property taxes. Grants are made up to $40,000.

(II) – By hard-capping the percentage that the ad-valorum assessment of the value of a citizen's primary residence [on which real property taxes are levied] can be increased each year, and

See Cary's real-property tax rate along with those for Wake County and other towns and cities within its borders.

(III) – By making Town financial and legal assistance available to residents of manufactured-homes communities, helping those residents and the organizations currently assisting them to halt predatory practices and even form a cooperative to purchase the entire community.

(I) – I support the goals of the recently-enacted Cary housing plan and will work to find resources sufficient to bring them into being.

(II) – I've seen two decades ago in Florida a skyrocketing in value of homes, similar to [but not as dire as] we in Cary are currently experiencing. Families who had purchased their homes and budgeted reasonable and prudent amounts for yearly real-property taxes found themselves buried by unforeseen, market-irrational rises in their assessments [and thus their tax bills], and facing the possibility of losing their homes because of an inability through NO fault of their own to afford their property taxes.

Faced with desperate homeowners in danger of being forced from their properties, Florida legislators enacted [what I think was called] the Homestead Act. This law capped the percentge rise in assessed value of a home occupied as a primary residence. The law works as follows: a family lives in their home as their primary residence. In any assessment cycle, the authority may assess the taxable value no higher than a legislatively-determined percentage of the previous assessment. [In 2021, that percentage was 1.4%.] Say a home was valued and taxed at a value of $300,000. Regardless of the fair-market value of the home, it cannot be assessed at a value more than the statutory-allowed maximum. If the home has a current fair-market value of $400,000, it nevertheless cannot be re-assessed at a value greater than $304,200 [$300,000 plus 1.4%] to its current primary residents.

See the Florida list of yearly caps on assessed home value since enactment of the provision.

When the home is sold, the County is authorized to assess it at at fair-market value, which in most all instances will be at or near the selling price. When the new owner takes possession, her initial assessment will be close to the selling price.

The Town of Cary Council does not have jurisdiction over this issue. It is a County and State question. We have already brought our strong concerns to state and county legislators, and will continue to suggest the enactment of this legislation. We KNOW that government moves slowly, but in this important instance, it will be imperative that retroactive action be included in the legislation. Potentially ruinous home-valuations of the last few years in this dizzying market simply must be corrected.

(III) – ROC USA is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation that assists the owners of manufactured homes in forming cooperatives so that the homeowners can acquire title to the property on which the homes are located. ROC USA has assisted in the conversion of 250 manufactured-homes communities in 17 states to resident ownership. The non-profit provides technical and legal assistance, and provides financing for the purchase of the land.

It is in the Town's best interest to insure the continued existence of a community in which the homes are relatively affordable. I don't have a turnkey suggestion to make to voters, but feel strongly that, IF the residents want to form a collective to purchase the land, the Town should assist in any ways that it can.