August 25, 2006
The city of Charlottesville is giving away $250 to city residents to help ease the burden of property tax on city residents. However, it seems those who qualify aren't coming forward and the deadline is fast approaching.
"We have never had a program to try to address the middle income taxpayers of Charlottesville, and that's what City Council is beginning to do," said Raymond Lee Richards, the city's commissioner of revenue.
To help homeowners pay skyrocketing property taxes the General Assembly granted over $400,000 toward the Charlottesville Housing Affordability Grant Program. It would put $250 back in homeowners’ pockets.
City Council set the requirements and the commissioner of revenue sent out letters to the homeowners they believe meet the qualifications.
The assessed home value must be $238,200 or less; the resident must live in the home as of January 1, 2006; and the Household income cannot exceed $50,000 a year.
Plus, the homeowner cannot own any other real estate property. So, for those people who have bought up multiple homes during the housing boom, you're out of luck.
"They would not qualify,” said Richards. “This is to help people on their primary home; this is not to help pay the taxes on an investment that someone may make.”
So far, only 16% of those who were sent a letter will be getting the credit on their next property tax bill.
There is limited time to jump on board. The deadline for the grant is September 1st.
"Real estate assessments are continuing to go up every year and we're making sure we can help a little bit in alleviating that," said Richards.
If the rest of the $400,000 of grant money is not used by homeowners, city officials said it will just end up back in the general fund.
If you would like to apply, contact Lee Richards at 434-970-3160.