Local Government & Tax Rates

Carteret County

carteret county municipalitiesCarteret County, established in 1722, was named after Lord John Carteret who was one of the original eight North Carolina “Granville District” families and the only one to retain title until the American Revolutionary War.

Carteret County has a commissioner/manager form of government. The County’s seven commissioners are nominated by district and voted on county-wide. The county seat is located in the Town of Beaufort and it is a member of the Eastern Carolina Council of Governments.

The county has a Moody’s Investor Services Aa1 bond rating, a Standard & Poor’s AA+ bond rating and a Fitch AA+ rating. The County’s total taxable real property as of December 31, 2016 was $13,461,544,192. Carteret County’s next reevaluation is scheduled for 2019.

As of November 29, 2016, Carteret County voter registration was as follows: 12,898 Democrats (25%); 22,425 Republicans (42%); 17,589 Unaffiliated (33%); and 232 Libertarians for a total of 52,964.

Carteret County Municipalities

Carteret County has eleven municipalities, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Bogue, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Morehead City, Newport, Peletier, and Pine Knoll Shores, each of which has its own town council. The type of government structure varies from town to town.

Atlantic Beach

carteret county municipalitiesCarteret County, part of the Southern Outer Banks, is known as the “The Crystal Coast” because of its 81 miles of white sandy beaches. The location of the coast is unique because the sun rises and sets over the ocean. The beaches face south rather than east from the southern point of Core Banks at Cape Lookout to the west end of Bogue Banks. In addition, the north winds calm the ocean water close to the beaches while the Crystal Coast’s proximity to the Gulf Stream keeps water temperatures mild. The waters have an abundance of aquatic life; the offshore Gulf Stream features the northern range of southern species and the southern range of northern species. For more information about Atlantic Beach visit their website here.


carteret county municipalitiesThe Town of Beaufort, founded in 1709, is North Carolina’s 3rd oldest town features tree lined streets, restored homes that pre-date the Civil War and beautiful water vistas. Beaufort was recently named America’s Coolest Small Town and voted a top yachting destination by Yachting magazine. The town is also well known for the wild ponies and horses that make their home on Carrot Island. In addition, the town is home to The North Carolina Maritime Museum and its Queen Anne Revenge artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship which sunk off the Beaufort Inlet. The Nicholas School of the Environment of Duke University and one of the earliest NOAA labs call Beaufort home.

Beaufort operates under a council/manager form of government. The Town Board consists of five commissioners and the mayor. The mayor is elected for a two year term, and only casts a vote in the event of a tie. The commissioners are elected for alternating four-year terms.


carteret county municipalitiesThe Town Bogue is the home of the renowned Bogue Sound Watermelon. This variety of watermelon is sweeter and juicier than any other brand and that is attributable to the land on which it is grown – land that connects with Bogue Sound, the body of water that separates Bogue Sound from the mainland of Carteret County.

Bogue remains a mayor/council government with 5 council members.



Carteret County MunicipalitiesCape Carteret

The Town of Cape Carteret is comprised of both seasonal and permanent residents. Cape Carteret’s prime location, mild climate, and friendly people make this town a wonderful place for families, retirees, and vacationers. Cape Carteret is located along the Intracoastal Waterway, at the foot of the Emerald Isle Bridge. Their close proximity to the Crystal Coast beaches, excellent fishing golf courses, and many local festivals ensure that there is always something fun to do for everyone. Cape Carteret operates under a council/mayor form of government.

Cedar Point

Carteret County MunicipalitiesIn 1713, the Town of Cedar Point was founded on a platform of family and small town values. When you visit this part of the North Carolina Coast, you will see how this close-knit community has grown while holding fast to its small town roots. Through the years, Cedar Point has remained a peaceful little town nestled in the Crystal Coast with impeccable views of Bogue Sound, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and the White Oak River.

Cedar Point has a Mayor/Council Form of Government, which consists of a Mayor and four Board Members. The Mayor and Board of Commissioners of Cedar Point are elected every 4 years to serve a 4-year term.

Emerald Isle

Carteret County Municipalities

Named for the lush greenery that covers much of the area, Emerald Isle is located at the western end of the Bogue Banks. This beautiful community, with 13 miles of pristine beaches, is the perfect place to soak up the sun, surf the waves, go boutique shopping, enjoy great golf and much more.

Emerald Isle has a Manager/Council Form of Government, which consists of a Mayor and five Board Members. The Mayor of Emerald Isle is elected every four years to serve a 4-year term. Of the 5-member Board of Commissioners, 4 of the members will now serve 4-year terms, while the 5th member serves a 2-year term.

Indian Beach

Indian BeachCarteret County Municipalities is located in the middle of Bogue Banks, next to the last island in a chain of barrier islands known as the Southern Outer Banks or the Crystal Coast. The unincorporated community of Salter Path divides the town in the middle.

A Mayor and 2 Commissioners govern Indian Beach.

Morehead City

Carteret County MunicipalitiesThe Town of Morehead City, the largest town in Carteret County, was settled in the early 1700’s and incorporated in 1861. Envisioning an important port city, John Motley Morehead, the twentieth Governor of North Carolina, and others carefully planned Morehead City. The Port of Morehead City and the railroad have been contributing forces in the development of the city and region. The renowned Morehead City waterfront, with its fine seafood restaurants and sport fishing fleet, including the one the largest free public fishing pier and boat launching facility, makes Morehead City one of the finest coastal living areas in Carteret County. The town is also home to the Morehead Marlins, a collegiate wooden bat baseball team, located at the Big Rock Stadium at O’Neal Field,
Morehead City is operated as a council-manager form of government, which includes a Mayor, a five-member Town Council and a Town Manager. The town provides police, fire, utilities, and public works to its citizens.


Carteret County MunicipalitiesThe Town of Newport received its charter in 1866 and history of the town is closely associated with the Newport River. The origin of the name “Newport” can be traced back to two prevalent theories: 1) The town was called “New Port” to distinguish it from the “Old Port” of Beaufort; and 2) the early influx of Quakers from Rhode Island called the town “Newport” in honor of their native Newport.

The town is operated as a Council-Manager form of government, which includes a Mayor, a five-member Town Council, and Town Manager. The town provides police, fire, utilities, and public works to its citizens.


The Town of Peletier is located off Highway 58 and is comprised of 3.3 miles with a population of 647. A Mayor and 5 members of the Board of Commissioners govern Peletier.

Pine Knoll Shores

Carteret County MunicipalitiesOnce owned by America’s own royal family, the descendants of Theodore Roosevelt, Pine Knoll Shores is known as a peaceful residential community with an eco-friendly focus. The area was designed with minimal disturbance to the native maritime forest and sand dunes and is one of the state’s most ecologically sensitive towns. The spirit of neighbor helping neighbor created the ambience of the Town of Pine Knoll Shores and this makes it a community in the truest sense of the word. The North Carolina Aquarium, a major attraction that brings visitors from all over the world, is located on the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area.

Pine Knoll Shores operates under the Council-Manager form of government. The manager is the chief administrator of the Town and is responsible for all municipal affairs placed in his/her charge by the council. This form of government is based on a separation of function, with the governing body being legislative and policy oriented, while administration is the responsibility of the manager.

Down East

The Down East areas of Carteret County consist of Atlantic, Bettie, Cedar Island, Davis, Gloucester, Harkers Island, Marshallberg, Otway, Sea Level, Smyrna, Stacy, Straits, and Williston. These unincorporated areas of Down East communities fall under the jurisdiction of Carteret County.

Tax Rates

2014-15 Comparative Property Tax Rates

LocalityFormulaTax Rate per $100 valuation
Property Tax
Carteret County.31
Atlantic Beach.165
Cape Carteret.1975
Cedar Point.0625
Morehead City .350
Beaufort Township/Morehead .350
Indian Beach .195
Non-Oceanfront .195 +.020 .2150
Oceanfront.195 + .040.235
Emerald Isle.155
Non-Oceanfront .155
Oceanfront .155 + .040 .195
Pine Knoll Shores .1970
Non-Oceanfront .1970 + .0160 .2130
Oceanfront.1970 +.0600 .2570
Hoffman Beach .31
Beach Renour Cty .055
Fire Distric Tax Rates
Beaufort .055
Broad & Gales Creek.040
Cedar Island .100
Harkers Island .110
Marshallberg .0975
Mill Creek.045
Mitchell Village .050
North River.090
Salter Path .070
Sea Level.095
South River.060
Western Carteret .040
Rescue District Tax Rate
Broad & Gales Creek.0400
Mill Creek .0450
Mitchell Village .0200
Sea Level.1000
Western Carteret.0300

Source: Carteret County Tax Office 2016/17

Sales Tax and Use Tax

All North Carolina counties levy local sales and use taxes at the rate of 2.25% on food purchased for home consumption and on transactions subject to the state 5.5% general rate, such as sales of building materials, office equipment, etc. No sales taxes are collected on purchases of industrial machinery and equipment, ingredient or component materials or packaging materials that become a part of the sale of a product or repairs to industrial machinery.

General Property Tax

There is only one assessment in each county. Property is to be assessed at 100% of appraised value. Property appraised at the full value at the time of appraisal may appreciate until appraised value is only 50% or 60% of true value by the end of the eight-year period. Actual ratios vary from county to county. Carteret County is scheduled to conduct new reevaluations in 2019.
The tax rates vary from county to county and from town to town. County wide rates range from 23¢ to 84¢ per $100 of appraised valuation. In much of the state only county-wide rates apply outside of cities and towns. North Carolina imposes no tax on business inventories, and there is no state property tax on equipment or real property.

Carteret County Property Tax

Carteret County historically has one of the lowest property tax rates in North Carolina and the 2016-17 tax rate of $.31/$100 valuation is the LOWEST of any North Carolina county. The sales assessment ratio for Carteret County is 108.4% and the effective tax rate is $.3252. The effective rate adjusts for the county revaluation cycle by adjusting the county’s nominal tax rate by the sales/assessment ratio – the ratio of the selling price of property to the assessed value of property.

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