Rising Property Taxes Hit Seniors Hard

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

February 7, 2005

Property taxes in Charlottesville have gone up by as much as 20 percent this year. The hike is hitting senior citizens especially hard.

Naomi Roberts is one of several Charlottesville homeowners who was shocked to see this years spike in real estate taxes.

"I was furious and I was fussing; I was really furious," said Roberts.

Roberts has lived in her home since 1963. Its value since 1997 has more than doubled going from about $71,000 to nearly $170,000. Her taxes have also doubled. She says it's too much for her and her husband to pay since they're on a fixed income.

"If anything happened to my husband, I couldn't live here if my taxes keep going up," said Roberts. "If anything happens to me, he can't live here and keep paying taxes, and I just feel like we’re going to be out in the street."

Last year, the property value in Charlottesville jumped 16 percent. That's a nice boost for those ready to sell their homes, but for those planning to stay the hike seems unnecessary. City leaders say the value is based on several factors such as size and location.

"Some neighborhoods are higher than others within the city and that's just a product of individual development within that particular community," said Ric Barrick, Charlottesville Spokesman.

Roberts says even if she did sell her home, she still wouldn't be able to find another home equally nice for the same price. She says there's no such thing as affordable housing in Charlottesville and until the city considers reevaluating property taxes, she'll just have to have faith she'll be able to pay it.

The city is considering lowering the tax rate, but in the meantime they offer a tax relief program with restrictions. The deadline to apply is March 1. For more information, you can call 434-970-3170.

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