The analysis presented here employs a methodology established by the American Farmland Trust, one that has been used in numerous Cost of Community Services (COCS) studies throughout the U.S. Like those studies, the current research was motivated by two questions: (1) Do the property taxes and other revenues generated by residential land uses exceed the amount of publicly-provided services supplied to them? (2) Do farm and forest lands receive an unfair tax advantage when they are assessed at their actual use value – as is the case in Alamance County – instead of their potential value in residential or commercial uses?
As has been found in other COCS studies, the answers to these questions are “no” for Alamance County. The residential sector contributes only 68¢ to the county’s coffers for each dollar’s worth of services that it receives. Commercial and industrial land uses are the largest net contributors to the public purse, contributing $4.29 in revenues for each dollar of publicly provided services that they receive. Despite being taxed on the basis of current land uses, property in agricultural land uses is found to be a net contributor to the local budget, generating $1.69 in revenues for every dollar of public services that it receives.