I have been a resident of Winchester for 73 years but am not sure how much longer I want to live in Winchester. So often I read articles in The Winchester Star about increasing taxes, increasing fees, and what I consider to be wasteful spending.
On March 24, a NOTICE OF PROPOSED REAL ESTATE PROPERTY TAX INCREASE appeared in The Winchester Star on the bottom of page A8. This notice met all of the minimum requirements of the Code of the State of Virginia rules for posting but did not give all of the needed facts to the residential property owners and renters in Winchester.
The notice states that total assessed value of real property increased by 5.8%. This statement is totally true but does not reveal a very important fact. The average value of residential real estate increased 10.4% with some properties going up as much as 25%. The value of commercial real estate (businesses and industries) did not increase significantly. Therefore, if the present $0.93 rate is approved, the average homeowner will have an increase of 10.4% on their real estate taxes and some will increase as much as 25%. Commercial real estate taxes will not increase. Therefore, residential properties will be paying for this tax increase.
Homeowners and the citizens who rent housing will be hurt the most. Landlords who own rental houses and apartments can pass this increase to the renters when current leases expire.
Therefore, homeowners and renters in the city will be paying for the tax increase while businesses and industries will not.
If council would decrease the rate to $0.89, (rate necessary to offset increased assessments), businesses and industries would actually get a tax decrease while the majority of residential properties would still get a significant increase.
Therefore, if city council passes this tax increase businesses and industries get the greatest benefit and the city residents get the greatest tax burden.
In my opinion, the only fair and equitable action for council to take is to reject the proposed tax increase. The city could still get their funds to operate by taxing everyone the same amount in dollars as they were taxed in 2020.Then, the city needs to institute a method of real estate assessment that is fair and equitable and does not put the entire burden on residential properties. Let businesses have an equal share of real estate tax increases.
I don’t understand how anyone can say they are representing the best interests of the citizens of Winchester and then vote to approve this terrible, one-sided real estate tax increase.
Wake up citizens of Winchester. Get involved to help stop this unfair tax increase. Email all members of council and demand that they vote against this tax increase. Council email addresses are:
Roger Lake is a resident of Winchester.