” 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
Roanoke 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
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.
Vice 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 roanokeva.gov website.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: budget, city_council, DaveTrinkle, tax