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Homeowner owes 10 years back taxes on dilapidated home

By Shannon Beamon
Staff Writer
Efforts to save a dilapadated home just got more complicated.
The owner of 608 Summit Ave. in Albemarle asked city officials in May to spare his house from demolition so he could fix it.
The house was originally put on the city’s demolition list in 2016, and has been below minimum housing standards for several years before that. However, officials agreed to consider an extention if the owner — Bobby Rorie — could prepare a 90-day plan detailing how he would repair the structure.
Before that plan could be completed, though, councilors found out Rorie has more than repairs to pay for on the house.
According to county records, no property taxes have been paid on 608 Summit Ave. in at least 10 years (tax records don’t go back further, so some could have been written off before that). About $2,100 are owed in back taxes.
When paired with the $55,000, professionals estimate it will cost more than 12 times the property’s current fair market value (about $4,600) to make repairs.
“Mr. Rorie might want to ask himself if it’s worth it at this point,” Mayor Ronnie Michael said.
Rorie has a few other houses that will likely be considered for demolition next, the mayor noted, and he may want to focus on them, instead.
However, even if Rorie wished to continue work on 608 Summit Ave., councilors were not convinced they should offer Rorie a demolition extention at this point.
“It’s not so much the amount of money,” Councilman Bill Aldridge said. “It’s the principle.”
Property taxes are paid every year at the same time, several councilors pointed out. Therefore anyone who owns property knows they have a bill due around then.
“We all have a responsibility to do what we’re required to do to help move our city forward,” Councilman Benton Dry said. “We can’t have just everybody (saying), ‘I’m going to forget, for whatever the reason, to pay my property taxes for 10 years.’ ”
If councilors continue to make special exemptions, they could even be accused of an uneven application of the law, Councilman Chris Bramlett feared.
“And that is being successfully used in court,” Bramlett said.
For those reasons, councilors weren’t sure if they should allow an extention on the demolition. However, they ultimately decided to give the matter a little more time.
In a unanimous motion, councilors gave Rorie until June 30 to pay the back taxes on the property. If he doesn’t, councilors will drop his extention request. If he does, they will consider the request one last time.
That does not mean they will approve the request, councilors were keen to note. But they will consider it, if the taxes are paid.
“Help yourself and then you can get help,” Dry said. “Before we do or say anything else, pay the property tax.”

Contact Shannon Beamon at 704-982-0816 or shannon.beamon@stanlynewspress.com.