Monday, April 20, 2015

Roanoke City garbage fee benefits the city’s wealthy – Trinkle’s conflict of interest goes unnoticed

” Vice Mayor Trinkle has a conflict of interest and should stop whining and stay out of the meals tax increase discussion.”


Hear ye, hear ye all Roanoke citizens desiring to have their taxes raised voice your support Thursday, April 23

Median_realestate_taxRoanoke homeowners were up in arms over a possible real estate tax increase from its current $1.19 per $100 of assessed value to $1.21 of assessed value. The city’s average home value according to the Real Estate Valuation Department is $125,000 and includes condominiums.

A two cent increase in a $125,000 home would be $25.00 annually. There are many home values that are less at around $50,000 and they would pay an annual increase of $10.00. However, the “wealthier” property owners in the city would pay more.

There are three well-heeled council members whose property values range from $500,000 to over $800,000. At $800,000 a two-cent real estate tax increase would be $160.00 annually.

An increase in the real estate tax on top of already depressed home values resulting in a depressed net worth plus the addition of a substantial storm water management fee is a leap too far. It is devastating  the budgets of seniors and low income homeowners.

The real estate tax is off the table said city council members at their last council meeting. Instead Chris Morrill, city manager, has received buy-in from city council members for a $7 monthly garbage fee (per big blue container and various other levels of service).

Is that a deal? A monthly garbage fee versus a real estate tax increase? No, no and NO! The garbage fee comes to $84 annually for everyone whether their home’s value is $50,000 or $800,000 or more. The $50,000 valued home pays $74 MORE annually under the garbage fee. The $800,000 valued home pays $76 dollars LESS.

Vice Mayor Dave Trinkle’s home value is at $802,000, Ray Ferris is at $725,000 and Court Rosen is at $500,000. The garbage fee is good for them while seniors, those whose taxes are frozen, modest low income homeowners and struggling medium home value homeowners. Theh are also facing the hefty storm water fee and now a garbage fee.

This fee is favored due to the fact the city is exempt from splitting the fee with Roanoke City Public Schools.

Fork in the Market

Fork in the Market

But for the sake of all that’s holy don’t increase the robust meals tax says Vice Mayor Dave Trinkle who owns two restaurants/bars. No, Dr. Trinkle doesn’t pay the 2-cent tax – YOU who eat and drink at his Forks pay it. That tax is passed from you to the city unless Trinkle decides to use it as a “slush fund” as he did several years ago. He was delinquent to the tune of $50,000 and never apoligized for using YOUR money meant for the city’s coffers for his light bill or whatever he used it for – he made excuses instead.

City administration (Chris Morrill) has bowed to Trinkle’s objection of raising the meals tax more than Trinkle’s demand for no more than a 1/2 cent increase. Morrill has stretched to a whopping 3/4 of a cent in the most recent calculation to be presented to city council Monday. The vehicle decal tax (we don’t get a decal anymore) will increase from $20 to $25. That is $5 more annually.

POINT: During the temporary 2-year eat for education meals tax increase of 2-cents the base tax actually increased during those 2 years and continued to increase after the 2 cent tax was sunsetted. It didn’t skip a beat.

Economics tells you that you don’t tax a declining revenue stream but pick the tax that is a robust, sustainable. strengthing revenue stream. That stream is the meals tax that will be in line with other cities.

The $7 monthly garbage fee is a gift to the 1% and well-heeled of Roanoke City. Either way a real estate tax increase or garbage fee would be unnoticed in their budgets. However, seniors and low income homeowners with modest residences will no doubt feel the pain.

Meals_taxVice Mayor Trinkle has a conflict of interest and should stop whining and stay out of the meals tax increase discussion. 

Trinkle also benefits in the subsidy that the city contributes to Market Building operation. The city’s contribution has doubled for FY2016 from $150,000 to $300,000. A subsidy to the Market Building that keeps slipping upward. The $7 million renovation and subsequent off-loading of the city Market Building to the Market Foundation as well as the management of the building was sold to city taxpayers as a self-sustaining proposition. One that would take the city off the hook for subsidizing it.

Trinkle also benefited when leasing the Fork in the Market space with taxpayer incentives.

New and returning tenants were being offered incentives to lease space in the Market Building when it first opened. Retail sales vendors were offered $15,000 for equipping their space and food vendors were offered $35,000. Vice Mayor Trinkle was reported to have made use of the city’s offer.

There will be a public hearing on the budget and tax increases on April 23 at 7 p.m. Don’t wait – contact council members NOW.

Library and parking fees are also increasing. Check the front page link on the budget as it stands now on the website.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (18)

John Wilson

April 20th, 2015 at 1:37 PM    

Residential parking fees are increasing an average of 52% and in one garage 125%. Just wait until the residents of downtown refuse to pay this outrageous fee/tax increase and start parking full time on the street. Can you say good by to free restaurant parking.

Sidney Vaught

April 20th, 2015 at 1:47 PM    

I think it's time David Trinkle gets voted off of Roanoke City Council if he's using his position to satisfy his own self interest…and any other City Council Member who is doing the same for that matter.

Valerie Garner

April 20th, 2015 at 2:40 PM    

Let us hope that other council members see the light. Speaking for myself on a fixed income I don't eat out much but when I do a 2-cent increase in the meals tax wouldn't keep me from doing so. However I feel the pain of the storm water fee and will feel the pain of a garbage tax that I can't avoid not matter what.

Rita Portelli

April 20th, 2015 at 3:05 PM    

I think you're right. In my opinion he should have never been voted in last term. He us representing that 1% so are other 99% not voting? Or not paying attention?

Rita Portelli

April 20th, 2015 at 3:05 PM    

City Council and the City Manager need to spend more of their time brain storming how to bring substantial employers to Roanoke to generate revenue to the residents to fund all these increases they want, instead of protecting those who can pay at the expense if those who will feel a hardship. They are building this city from the top down and are blind to the that it's not working and it won't. They need to ask somebody who understands the process of City growth and economics. You have to provide the revenue stream to support a city's essential budget, growth and future expansion and there have the cart before the horse.

Valerie Garner

April 20th, 2015 at 8:41 PM    

I agree Rita. Roanoke needs employers who pay a decent wage. An economist will tell you that if you must raise a tax – raise it in the area that is doing well not on a area that is suffering a decline – that would be residential home values and the citizens who feel their net worth (usually only their home) depressed.

[…] Roanoke City garbage fee benefits the city's wealthy – Trinkle's conflict of interest goes unnoticed […]

Terry Huxhold

April 20th, 2015 at 10:11 PM    

I don't vote for Trinkle and I do not understand why anyone else would when he is constantly in trouble for not paying his own bills.

Dave Henry

April 21st, 2015 at 1:14 AM    

I am not supporting, nor condemning David Trinkle with this comment. What does one's home value have to do with garbage removal. If the wealthy put 1 can of garbage in a landfill and so does the average person, why shouldn't they both pay the same amount for the same service?

Ray M Bayse

April 21st, 2015 at 1:17 AM    

The council just last year came up with the storm water fee and now a garbage fee, what fee is next? Fire , Police Fees if they are called? No wonder people are moving out of the city with things going like this.

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