Stoney, City Council members propose 5-cent tax rebate for city property tax

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 3:56 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and several City Council members proposed a one-time, 5-cent real estate tax rebate for city property owners.

The “Five Back Initiative” is the equivalent of the current tax rate of $1.20 of assessed value being cut to $1.15, Stoney said on Wednesday.

The rebate will be funded by up to an $18 million surplus in the city’s budget.

“So a home assessed at $350,00 and a real estate tax bill of $4,200 would receive a one-time rebate of $175,” Stoney said.

If approved by the city council, checks would be mailed to property owners in early 2023.

The proposal is co-sponsored by City Council members Andreas Addison, Michael Jones, Katherine Jordan, Anne-Frances Lambert, Stephanie Lynch and Council President Cynthia Newbille.

However, at this time, the city cannot permanently cut the tax rate based on the needs of the city and uncertain economic times.

“Each penny reduction in the real estate tax is equivalent to $3.4 million in lost revenue,” Stoney said. “Each penny reduction reduces the city’s debt capacity to create and build capital projects in the city. It reduces that debt capacity by $4.2 million.”

For a more long-term solution, Stoney is seeking approval from the General Assembly to freeze rates for long-term residents.

“We will ask the Virginia General Assembly to allow the City of Richmond to offer a long-time owners occupant program or Loop to qualifying long-time property owners,” Stoney said. “The exemption would effectively keep assessments leveled in future years and protect this vulnerable population.”

The administration is also working with City Council’s Assessor better to align the city’s assessment and budget cycles.

This way, future budget proposals can be based on actual assessments rather than assessment projections.