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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lynchburg City: Putting the Tax Squeeze on Residents

Two major opposing candidates in the governor's race are supporting a reduction in real property tax. Local governments are edgy.

WBDJ 7 in Roanoke reports:

“The Virginia First Cities Coalition has 15 members including Danville, Lynchburg, Martinsville and Roanoke. The group estimates Kilgore's plan to cap the increase in annual assessments would cost its members more than 8.5 million dollars annually. While Kaine's 20 percent exemption would reduce their property tax revenues by 134 million dollars a year. The group will not endorse a candidate for governor, but members say independent candidate Russ Potts more closely reflects their views on tax policy.”

WBDJ also points out that cities have become nervous over these caps.

With the State having a budget surplus last year of 544 million dollars, we consider it is time for Virginians and the residents in Lynchburg to realize some tax relief. Besides Lynchburg having one of the highest property tax rates in the area. The city has found other means to increase property tax, mainly through the use of reassessment.

Property taxes in our area:

source Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce:

Per hundred dollars of assessed value:

Lynchburg City $1.11
Bedford City 0.82
Bedford County 0.65
Amherst County 0.82
Appomattox County 0.66
Campbell County 0.52
Nelson County 0.72

We noticed in this city budget statement for the 2006 budget (find below), a 8.5% increase in property values. This was accomplished by reassessment. An imperfect and often inequitable method of determining individual tax responsibility. And, coupled with more intense building inspection efforts, Lynchburg residents can expect even higher assessments. One thing the city fails to see, while they are increasing the burden of taxes on its residents, there is not a corresponding growth of quality jobs in our area.

Also we noticed: "Adjusting the Real Property Tax rate to produce the same amount of revenue as during FY 2005 would require a reduction from $1.11 to $1.045 per hundred dollars of assessed value. Such a reduction, which is not recommended in this budget..."

Maybe not recommended, but we are sure our voice is not alone that is something they should strongly consider.

From the city budget statement for 2006:

Tax revenues are projected to total $38.6 million, an increase of approximately$3.0 million, or about eight and one half percent (8.5%) from the FY 2005 revised estimate. This is due to the capture of updated market values as a result of completion of the biennial reassessment and to some growth through new construction and rehabilitation. …. This revenue source represents over one-third (37.1%) of General Fund non-dedicated revenues.

The Assessor’s Office is currently completing the biennial reassessment of real property which will take effect on July 1, 2005. Notices to property owners will go out March 1. At this point, it is projected that the total assessed value of real property in the City will increase eight and one-half percent (8.5%) to nearly three and one half billion dollars ($3,471,288,000).
Excluding new construction and corrections to assessment records, the total assessed value will grow by six and one half percent (6.5%). Adjusting the Real Property Tax rate to produce the same amount of revenue as during FY 2005 would require a reduction from $1.11 to $1.045 per hundred dollars of assessed value. Such a reduction, which is not recommended in this budget, would require an adjustment of approximately $2.3 million to estimated revenues for FY 2006. Council will be required to hold a public hearing on the effective tax increase prior to budget adoption.

This budget has been adopted, and our concern remains that City government fails to see that the revenue they hope to squeeze from the residents of Lynchburg is not in line with the ability of many residents to pay.

(Local news) (City Council and local issues)


At 3:04 PM, Blogger xwifeofaxcon said...

I probably shouldn't say anything,, but my real estate taxes have gone down since last year!!

At 7:22 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for your comment your secret is safe here. Unfortunately you are the exception to the rule that is happening across Lynchburg. Many are experiencing dramatic increases in their tax assessments. I have also been one of the lucky ones, but my concern still lies with those who have not been so fortunate. Come back again, your comments are appreciated here.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don’t worry, the tax assessors (local, state, and feds) will figure out more ways for the citizenry to pay taxes by increasing business taxes.

How about an article about the FairTax?


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