by Brian Clarey

News and views from inside the media bubble

Tony Wilkins and social distortion Tony Wilkins, the newly appointed District 5 representative on Greensboro City Council, is our kind of guy: approachable and reasonable, a man who knows his way around a good sandwich and also the new media environment.

Wilkins took down his blog, Busy Being Born, shortly after his appointment, but this week he took to Facebook to spread his message, a dispatch about the recent city council retreat: “I asked that we set a goal to reduce the .6325 property tax rate low enough to take us off the list as THE highest property tax rate in NC. Help me get 5 votes to do that.”

The post roused all sorts of rabble; the thread includes exhortions against DGI, annexation, libraries and, in a roundabout way, mathematics. And former Councilman Mike Barber got a few plugs for a mayoral campaign that has yet to materialize.

Lost among the infighting is the fact that Greensboro does not, in fact, have “The highest property tax rate in NC,” as Wilkins suggested — at least not according to NC Department of Revenue. Greensboroans pay a property tax rate of .6325, with an adjusted rate of 1.4 after factoring in Guilford County taxes.

Among the municipalities paying higher rates than Greensboro:

Ahoskie (.76), Creedmoor (.7), Franklinton (.7), Murfreesboro (.66) and Jamesville (.7). A little closer to home, High Point residents who live in Guilford County pay slightly more, at an adjusted rate of 1.455.

Other cities get hit, too. Chapel Hill’s Orange County residents pay an adjusted rate of 1.54. In Hillsborough they pay 1.53.

In adjusted rates, towns paying more than us include Aulander (1.54), Bolton (1.535), Bunn (1.62), Youngsville (1.54), Scotland Neck (1.55), Jackson (1.5)… am I piling on?

The thing about social media — which Wilkins knows as well as anybody — is the real-time fact-checking. By the time this hits the streets, Wilkins; assertion will have been thoroughly debunked. Something else Wilkins may know about social media: A lot of his followers will believe him anyway.