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City's low tax argument only part of equation

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The City of Wilmington is thinking about raising property taxes to make up for the $7 million budget shortfall it is facing. In their arguments in favor of raising taxes, city officials say that they've only raised taxes once in the last decade, and that compared to the 10 largest cities in North Carolina, Wilmington has the second lowest tax rate.

We did a little digging and found another relevant fact to consider. The median household income in Wilmington is the lowest of any of the major cities in the state.

Here's a look at the numbers from the 2000 census, the most recent available. The median household income in Wilmington is just $31,099, followed by Jacksonville ($32,544), Asheville ($32,772) and Winston-Salem ($37,006).

Folks in the Raleigh-Durham area do quite a bit better, with income levels in the mid 40s. The average household in Charlotte brings in $46,975. But folks in Cary are the ones living the high life, with a median household income of $75,122.

Adding to the pinch for folks making a living in Wilmington: the cost of housing here is higher than almost anywhere else in the state.

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