This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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‘Taxtown?’ You can weigh in on Tuesday.
I’ve heard lots of alternative names for Fredericksburg in the four and a half years I’ve lived here. On today’s letters page, city resident Brett Anderson offers a new one: Taxtown.
He wags a finger (I bet I know which one) at the City Council for voting to raise the real estate tax rate from 56 cents to 70.5 cents after his home’s assessed value decreased by 33 percent, wiping out his home equity. That decline in value would give him a 3 percent lower tax bill next year (about a $50 to $70 tax break if his house started out worth $300,000 to $400,000), but that’s not enough to compensate for the pay cut he took this year, he says.
That leaves him "trapped" in "Taxtown" :
So listen up, City Council. Members who voted to raise taxes will not get my vote in the next election, and they can bet I will spread the word to everyone who will listen.
The council is asking city residents and property owners to weigh in on this tax rate on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. That might seem a little strange, since they’ve already voted 5-2 (Kelly, Ellis opposed) to approve the 70.5-cent rate and the budget it would fund. But tax rates and budgets take two votes to approve, and the council could take the final vote after Tuesday’s hearing, or even at its June 23 meeting (They’ve just got to do it before June 30).
Someone has already countered Anderson’s view in the comments below the letter, and during the budget hearing, city resident Anne Little actually asked the council to raise real estate taxes to fund necessary services.
Here’s the story we wrote about the first budget vote. As Anderson notes in his letter, next year’s budget is 5.2 percent smaller than this year’s. Cuts include a $700,000 cut to the schools, shrinking the city work force by 11 employees and giving employees making $70,000 or more a half-percent pay cut (The council avoided giving all employees an additional one percent pay cut by raising the real estate tax an extra penny.).