Nov 10, 2022 - Politics

Richmond plans property tax rebate after assessments surge

Illustration of checks falling

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mayor Levar Stoney and six Richmond City Council members are making plans to mail property tax rebate checks to city homeowners.

What's happening: Stoney and the council have struck a deal to cut one-time checks that will effectively lower this year's property tax rate by 5 cents.

  • That means a homeowner whose property is assessed at $350,000 that owed the city $4,200 would receive a check back for $175 early next year, Stoney said at an afternoon briefing.

Why it matters: For the second year in a row, home assessments surged, raising concerns about affordability for longtime homeowners.

  • City Council President Cynthia Newbille said council members have been inundated with emails and phone calls about the need for tax relief.

What they're saying: "Growth is good, but there's a flip side to that, and that's what we're experiencing in some of our neighborhoods," Stoney said.

By the numbers: The rebate works out to a roughly 4% reduction in this year's tax bills and is projected to cost the city about $18 million.

🤔 Asked why the city isn't offering bigger rebates considering assessments swelled 13% this year, Stoney's chief administrative officer Lincoln Saunders said the city is limited by state law, which he said requires tax rebates to be funded with budget surpluses.

  • "Everyone would like to see us do more, but we have to balance that with what finance is comfortable with," Saunders said. "The mayor and others have pushed this as far as we can."

The other side: Some council members had called for an across-the-board reduction to the city's tax rate.

  • Stoney opposed a permanent reduction that would not be targeted to low-income areas where residents are most in need.

What's next: City Council still needs to introduce and vote on the proposal, which means the details could still change.

To deliver long-term relief, Stoney said the city will continue to lobby state lawmakers to pass legislation allowing local governments to provide targeted tax relief to low-income, longtime homeowners.


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