Charlottesville Vehicle Assessments Go Up

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

December 6, 2005

After last night's City Council meeting, a change for Charlottesville car owners may be on the way. City Council voted to change the level at which cars are assessed. Cars moved up in that scale, which means that come tax time, car owners may have to shell out a bit more cash.

“They're trying to squeeze more money from the public at large," said Charlottesville resident, John Stoudt.

At the City Council meeting, members voted to change the way cars are assessed for taxes. It's going from the lowest number, the average loan value - which is the amount a bank would allow you to borrow to buy a car, to the next step up.

"We thought that it would be more equitable to, for now at least, set the average trade-in value," said Charlottesville vice mayor, Kevin Lynch.

That move assesses the vehicle at a higher rate, increasing its value by an average of 11%. So, how will this effect car owners?

"What's going to happen is that most people that own cars are probably not going to see their bill go down. They may even see it go up a few dollars, but it's not going to be a significant change, unless they just bought a brand new expensive car," said Lynch.

One of the main reasons for the jump is to try to lower property taxes.

The change is expected to generate $500,000 in revenue for the city and they plan to use that to offset real estate property taxes, hoping to bring it down.

"It does shift the balance from people that own houses to people that own automobiles," said Lynch.

Some car owners however are not too thrilled about the change.

“It kind of hurts because if they're trying to even out car tax and personal property for homeowners, I'm not a homeowner, so it would kind of not be fair," said Charlottesville resident, Cindy Switzer.

But fair or not, it’s a change that most city officials believe is necessary.

The actual tax right right now remains the same at $4.20 for every $100 of assessed value. The assessment change is set to go into effect at the first of the year.

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