County Assessments Hold Steady

Homeowners all over Albemarle are getting a welcome notice in the mail today, informing them that their assessments won’t be undergoing their normal annual ginormous increase. Residential assessments are increasing by just a fraction of a percent, Jeremy Borden writes in the Daily Progress, with the Samuel Miller district faring the best, with an average 1.18% drop.

Not coincidentally, Borden and Barney Breen-Portno also write that the county’s budget is a bad situation, what with the crappy housing market that’s caused the level assessments. The county was planning on a 2.4% increase in housing starts. Now it’s looking more like 1.6%, and it looks like belt-tightening time. (Or we’ll be buying a new, smaller, sleeker belt.)

66 thoughts on “County Assessments Hold Steady”

  1. “Residential assessments are increasing by just a fraction of a percent, Jeremy Borden writes in the Daily Progress…”

    Yeah, I will believe it when I see it. And Albemarle County is hoping everyone will believe it because it’s in the newspaper I suppose. I have a home sitting vacant in Albemarle County. The value of the land did drop a few dollars, but the home value went up $7,000 to compensate for it. Albemarle County looked out for themselves, as usual.

  2. I don’t understand what you don’t believe. My assessment went down. It kind of freaked me out.

  3. Mine went down by $10,000. The land value stayed the same!
    Is this really bad?
    Anyone know about this?

  4. Our area appears to be the last to be assessed or something, because we still haven’t gotten anything yet. I even checked on the website and neither us nor our neighbors have been reassessed yet.

  5. Just remember that lower assessments do not always translate into lower real estate taxes. Didn’t they say on the news last night that the County is expecting a $6M revenue shortfall?

  6. Demopub, I had the opposite experience of you — land value up by ~$5K, house value down ~$10K. But it’s all meaningless when it comes time to sell the darn thing anyway.

  7. The level of your assessment has little meaning when the BOS can control the amount of the tax rate. Many of us are now less wealthy (lower assessment) and will be tighting our belts. Supervisor Slutsky believes that we don’t pay enough taxes any way. And no matter how little the school enrollment goes up the school board will demand their 60% of every new dollar.

    That means if we need to raise 4 million to make up for non school programs we must raise taxes my 10 million. Yep that’s right- no matter how little or not a all the school population grows they get 60% of all increases. And that doesn’t count the $.10 that the city gets from every new tax dollar. This is all light of two different studies that say that the Albemarle schools system gets little bang for the massive bucks. The study that we paid for says Albemarle has too many middle managers, failed principals really. Of course the school board would rather talk about the flaws of these studies then the lessons they have learned and paid for.

    The point- no matter what your new assessment is you going to get a higher property tax bill.

  8. It looks like the county’s site is partially updated – the values on the summary page are updated while the assessment page doesn’t yet show the 2008 assessment figures.

    I haven’t gotten my assessment yet but judging from other properties in the Free Union area it looks like land values around me have gone up 9-10% while house values have dropped around 4-5%.

  9. A cap needs to be put on school spending. Every year it takes more and more tax payer dollars (which come from real estate taxes) to support this sacred cow. This thing of saying that our schools need more money to keep up with the Jones (surrounding counties and cities) is putting a tax burden on the taxpayers (real estate owners) that is out of all reason.

  10. Are the actual schools (buildings/staff where students are educated) taking up all of the yearly increases or do we have a problem the last few years with a large increase in downtown school division administrators? The recent School Utilization Report recommendations need to be implemented now to address this issue.

    My property assessment went down as I expected. The county budget issues should not be a shock to anyone- the housing bubble was a commonly recognized reality for several years. This situation was predictable and predicted.

  11. Well, I am glad to see there is some truth in the values going down or only up a fraction of a percent. My total value went up 3%, not a fraction of a percent as the media reports. This while now needing a new roof, the landscape not being maintained, and no upgrades or renovations to speak of in years. As a matter of fact it also now needs $10,000 worth of replacement windows to replace the replacement windows my mother bought about 1o years ago. She was taken for a ride when she bought replacement windows, they were garbage! Even though she supposedly bought the “top of the line” model. Oh well, I don’t care. I’m going to be selling it sometime soon anyway. A house seems to go to hell in a handbasket when sitting vacant!

  12. Reports and studies on how to control out of control school spending are never implemented. They are just another impressive report in a long list of school reports which gather dust.
    Property taxes have very little to do with the real value of your house or land. What determines the real value and assessment (from the government standpoint) simply is what will it take to run the local government for another year and how many tax dollars can we get from the property owning citizens without to much of a fuss to make this thing work for another year. When the assessment goes down the tax rate will go up and vise versa in order to generate enough tax dollars to run the local government one more year. We need to put a cap on out of control local government spending and the schools are the very first place to start. Make sense?
    Just my .02, now flame away.

  13. What determines the real value and assessment (from the government standpoint) simply is what will it take to run the local government for another year and how many tax dollars can we get from the property owning citizens without to much of a fuss to make this thing work for another year.

    There’s simply no evidence to support the annual claim that assessments are based on what’s convenient for the county government. There’s every reason to believe precisely what the county says: they’re based on the property’s prior sale values, inflation, known values of nearby properties, and inspections.

  14. There is evidence in the City. Check out the assessed value of the property on the corner of Ridge Street and Cherry Avenue owned by CHERRY AVENUE INVESTMENTS, LLC. They paid $612,500 on 1/26/2006 and it’s assessed at $53,700 which is less than the $90,000 VIRGINIA LAND LLC paid on 9/15/1999 according to the information on the City’s website.
    What I don’t understand in the county is how the County can say, for example, that the improvements have declined in value but the land has gone up in an established neighborhood like Woodbrook or Northfields. Do they have a way of separating the value of the land from the total sale price if no vacant land has been sold recently nearby?

  15. There is evidence in the City. Check out the assessed value of the property on the corner of Ridge Street and Cherry Avenue owned by CHERRY AVENUE INVESTMENTS, LLC. They paid $612,500 on 1/26/2006 and it’s assessed at $53,700 which is less than the $90,000 VIRGINIA LAND LLC paid on 9/15/1999 according to the information on the City’s website.

    That’s not evidence of anything nefarious. It demonstrates only that assessments can be based on information that is not obvious to other parties. Plus, what you’re arguing is precisely the opposite of Jogger’s claim. Having the city assess down property values runs counter to the common claim, which is that they’re inflated.

  16. It supports that part of jogger’s statement “…how many tax dollars can we get from the property owning citizens without to much of a fuss…” This particular LLC is a legal alias for Southern Development whose property is repeatedly undervalued by the City as an inducement for its investment in middle income housing in the city. SD was making a fuss when the City asked that it not develop moderate income housing on the property that is now called Burnet Commons off Elliot Avenue. The same low assessments are for its development called Brookwood something or other off 5th Street SW. The single-family detached units are all selling for over $400k and are assessed much less. Helps cash flow during the development period. By State law, assessments are to be based solely upon “fair market value.” When property is sold, its fair market value is established. I believe jogger is a city resident so I was turning jogger’s attention to the circumstances in the City, rather than have the comments directed at the County. Both the City and the County juggle the tax rate (not the assessments) to get enough money to run the government. The City, unlike the County, also makes a difference according to use and income, thus, instead of having a real estate tax system based solely upon fair market value, the City has a use tax and income tax.

  17. I have a simpler question- why screw with assessments when you can change the tax rate anytime you want. There is no percentage in it.

  18. The circumstance you describe — a pattern of suspicious valuations all pertaining to a single property holder — is definitely a horse of a different color. Sounds sketchy.

  19. Perlogik, State law requires a periodic assessment in order to establish fair market value for that property. Waldo, my problems isn’t that the developer is given incentives to build something other than the cheap shacks I was told was first proposed but that State law should be followed and fair market value should be employed. The City can provide other financial inducements for the developer since its a short term ownership. In the case of Burnet Commons, the City contributed funds for street construction and the public was aware. It could have also picked up the water and sewer line construction cost. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating it, just that there are legal ways to do what the City wants done.

  20. Real estate assesments are all vodoo science….If you have ever talked to an assessor you will know that…..According to this thread a lot of county assessments have gone down this year….maybe/maybe not….if they have gone down then you can rest assured that the tax rate of .64 will be increased to cover county operating costs.
    Assessments and tax rates are based on exactly what I have stated………..How many feathers (tax $’s) can we pluck from the goose and/or gander before they squak!
    Again just my .02 and begin the flame……

  21. C-ville Eye’s discovery apparently isn’t limited to just large developers. When we bought our house above assessment the next year they assessed it at 50,000 over what we bought it for. The land next door was sold to a developer way over assessment, and this year the assessment is still at less than 50,000 what they paid for it.

    I can’t help but winder if somehow C-ville Eye’s assertion is correct that somehow developers are treated differently by the system. After all, our properties are right next to each other, so there is no reason why our property would be valued at a different rate from theirs, especially when they’ve got development rights and we have none.

    Is is possible that the way assessments are done encourage development?


  22. jogger, it becomes quite clear in the City if you challenge your assessment. The assessor you talk to is willing to push it up or down slightly if you ask. At least this happend several years ago. Lonnie, if I understand you correctly, shouldn’t the developable land next door be assessed at a higher value than yours? This website proposes an alternative way of determining real estate tax revenue for localities that would prohibit what jogger is saying is going on: . It says the State should limit the $ amount that a locality can increase its real revenues and not leave it up to an arbitrary judgment of the locality. This proposal would not address what Lonnie is talking about.

  23. Yes, you understand me correctly, and once you subtract the value of our home, then it should be assessed at a higher value than us. It’s also about twice as much acreage, so it is surprising that it is $50,000 less than our property. The only thing I can figure is that maybe there is a cap on how much they can increase a single assessment in a year. Otherwise, I can’t understand the methodology.

    That said, I’m not sure it’d benefit us to have the assessment of his property go up either, since it would only inflate ours even further.

  24. Also, I checked out that website and I’m not sure I totally agree. One problem I see with that is it could exacerbate the problem of developers not paying their fair share of infrastructure costs. In essence, in some places in the county they’d still be paying taxes on property at 1980’s value PLUS they’d also get a land use tax credit for “Forestry”. Then, after years of paying virtually no taxes they create a big subdivision and pass all of the infrastructure costs onto all the other county taxpayers.

    So… While that reform does make a certain kind of sense, it really shouldn’t happen until after we get the ability to levy “impact fees” to developments. Without that, I fear that’d just be yet another corporate tax loophole.

  25. I’m not sure I see. I thought the Country used proffers to offset the impact from development. It was my understanding that currently the developers are getting the land use discounts until they’re ready to build. Then they pay the last five years taxes as back taxes that have accrued.

  26. County BoS now talking openly (front page of todays’s DP) about raising the real estate tax rate to off set the “low” real estate assessments. For once I would like to see governing bodies (BoS, councils) just leave assessments and tax rates alone an do a little belt tightening. Departmental budgets are loaded with excess and can easily be trimmed without a reduction in services.

  27. Jogger there is no way the BOS won’t raise the tax rate. Slutsky is actually cheerleading an increase. Rooker wants one and the two ladies will most certainly vote for one. The ONLY questions will be how large the increase will be.

  28. jogger, many people agree with you, however, our representatives are surrounded by people who spend most of their time talking about new ways of spending money that they don’t have time to spend thinking about ways of saving any. Rob Schilling announced yesterday that he will be suggesting ten ways the city can cut its budget Saturday morning sometime between 6 and 9 AM on WINA 1070 AM. I doubt if any of it will appear in print though. It’s funny how he was criticized while on Council for “always voting ‘no.'”

  29. Got my city tax assessment today. These morons went up $17,200 on my home and property. Jerks!

    For 3 or 4 years straight now, they have my home valued at more than I can possibly sell it for.

    They’ll have more tax dollars to buy some more gas guzzling Crown Victorias, Tahoes, Suburbans, Excursions, Escapes and Explorers for all the city employees who are issued take home cars. And unlimited gas, all they can burn 24/7.

  30. Demopublican, I hope you and others will remember these increased real estate assessments and increased real estate property taxes (due june 5 & dec 5) the next time elections for city council come around. If enough people get together and vote one or two of the liberal, tax and spend, loons out of office perhaps changes can really be made.
    Local governing bodies cannot continue to expect the property owners to finance and bankroll the city/county budgets forever. There needs to be a cap placed on local government spending.

  31. jogger, do you know anyone that is planning to run on the issue of increasing taxes? Ms. Haskins did and had a good showing but got no where near enough votes to win. Maybe, just maybe, it’s only an issue with a handful of people. I heard her on a call in one day on WINA and she’s still plugging away, bless her.

  32. Cville Eye, no one runs for public office with a platform of increased taxes unless you are a left wing, liberal democrat. I am for fiscal constraint when it comes to spending the taxpayers money. Property owners are the ones who pay the lions share of local governement budgets and this cannot continue. I do not feel like I should be penalized for owning my own home, and each year the increased tax assessments continue to penalize me for homeownership. If you enjoy paying taxes then by all means continue to vote for the liberal tax and spend democratic loons. I for one am tapped out financially would like to see some slowing or cap’s placed on this uncontrolled spending.

  33. Jogger, the City of Charlottesville apreciates you hanging in there. Especially when their Fire Dept Ford Excursion pulls up to the fuel pumps with a 44 gallon tank. And I too am tapped out financially. I never in my life figured my real estate taxes would ever be $300 a month.

  34. Jogger-
    Never say “never”-According to today’s DP, the ACPS School Board has told the school superintendent to reduce Central Office by $400,000. As I mentioned above, fixing the overspending on downtown administrators was one of the School Utilization Report’s top recommendations. I hope it happens as I am convinced this will have minimal impact on the quality of education in Albemarle.

  35. If enough people get together and vote one or two of the liberal, tax and spend, loons out of office perhaps changes can really be made.

    I really don’t understand that “tax and spend” means, as an insult. It wouldn’t make any sense to tax without spending that money. If anything, it would be far, far worse to tax people without spending it. Wouldn’t it? Could you explain what you mean by this phrase? I’m puzzled.

  36. Gail, is that $400k to be subtracted from last year’s expenditures or from this year’s projected expenditures?

  37. These kinds of pressures are why the City and County have such a difficult time reining in increasing spending: “Councilors would like county supervisors to put more money toward affordable housing in the upcoming budget.” Council should follow Mr. Huja’s advice on good budgeting practices and not vote on budget-impacting initiatives in isolation before looking at the budget as a whole. Having said that, I doubt if these novices will listen. It’s interesting that some in the City want to spend more on some kind of housing trust fund (whatever that is) and is now demanding that the County do the same.

  38. Speaking as one member and not on behalf of the Board… the Albemarle County School Board took action this week to reduce central office expenditures by $400,000 for the FY 2009 budget (2008-09 school year). This direction to Superintendent Moran was, in part, in response to recommendations from our recent Resource Utilization Study conducted by Bill Bosher’s team from VCU. Further, for the current FY 2008 budget (2007-08 school year), we have already implemented $200,000 in reductions for central office staff. These cuts are being made regardless of the amount of revenues received in the next budget (i.e. they would not be restored if funds were available).

    Brian Wheeler, At-Large Member
    Albemarle County School Board

  39. Waldo your confusion is beyond comprehension.

    This shouldn’t be real tough, jogger. Could you just tell me what, specifically, you mean when you describe somebody as “tax and spend”? You’re describing a negative attribute of somebody, but I just don’t know what that attribute is.

  40. From The ACPS 2007-2008 (current year) budget is $148M. According to the D.P. “The current overall revenue projection stands at $149.6 million, meaning that there is a $2.7 million deficit [ from Moran’s proposed budget]that needs to be dealt with.” So, the projected revenues for this year is about $1.6M (my calculation). So, actual school expenditures will probably increase next year, it is the amount of increase that is being reduced. Kudos to the ACPS board for recognizing that education, not administration, is the priority in the County. Now, if only the City and County would forego the salary increase contest…

  41. Waldo, I think Jogger simply meant the more taxes they can raise, the more they have to spend. Having been inside the box at one time, and having observed things firsthand, I can tell you no city department really attempts to save the taxpayers any money. It’s always been ask for as much as you can get each year — and overspend so you can justify asking for more in the next budget. There’s a lot of mismanagement too. One very simple example was a department head wanting a new pair of fine leather gloves one year. In order to have the city pay for his gloves, he ordered every employee in his department a pair of these fine leather gloves and called them a required part of the uniform. So his $60 fine leather gloves ended up costing the taxpeyrs quite a chunk of change. He didn’t give a damn if the employees wore their gloves or not, it was all about him getting his gloves free in my humble opinion. Sure, he would argue that it really wasn’t all about him wanting a pair of new gloves.

  42. Waldo, I think Jogger simply meant the more taxes they can raise, the more they have to spend.

    Now that makes sense to me. The notion of taxes dictating spending, rather than vice versa, isn’t a particularly healthy approach to government. The “tax and spend” shorthand is a really puzzling way to describe that, but if that’s the definition, it seems like a logical criticism.

  43. I just don’t see though how “Tax and Spend” really has anything at all to do with liberal Democrats. This is frankly a myth.

    Check out the current so-called “conservative” Republican administration. Their rate of spending is far above anything any liberal Democrat ever did. The thing is that apparently you can give billions upon billions in corporate subsidides and be a “conservative” Republican but if you give a few million to help the poor or the environment then somehow you are a “tax and spend” liberal Democrat. Here’s an example… We lose over ten billion dollars per year in the National forests because the forest service sells timber at less than the cost of growing it. Likewise most mineral extraction fees were set in the 1800’s and haven’t changes since. The fraction of the national budget spent on social services or the environment is miniscule compared to that put into corporate subsidies and the military.

    A real problem, as I see it, is that Republicans seem to want to cut taxes but rarely have any solid suggestions as to what they as voters are willing to give up in terms of services. That said, I’m glad that at least people on this list seem to be at least making some concrete suggestions about cuts. That to me seems productive, but arbtrary labels like “tax and spend liberal” don’t really strike me as particularly useful nor reflective of reality.

  44. I am amazed to see that three Councilors voted not to start a new housing welfare program using local funds at last night’s meeting. It would be great if they applied the same reasoning of accountability to the rest of the budget process.

  45. We already have a housing welfare program established in the city, and I believe it will cost the city taxpayers somewhere around $1.75M this coming fiscal year…(out of general fund). The city no longrt calls it a housing welfare program, or voucher program, but rather affordable housing. I am sorry that so many people cannot live in the palace of their dreams, but they need to find a way of getting it other than through taxpayer support. If Norris has his way he will have this city in bankruptcy before he leaves office. His brand of socialism might be all right if you live in Louisa at Twin Oaks but it certaintly doesn’t work in the real world. That’s an idea, maybe Norris should relocate to Twin Oaks, and live happily ever after in a socialist environment.

  46. So… what you’re saying is that Norris is proposing that all the people recieving affordable housing will have to complete community work credits like they do at Twin Oaks?

    Wow, that’s harsh.

  47. If the people are complaining that they can not afford housing in Charlottesvilee they they are not receiving “affordable housing,” they are receiving publicly subsidized housing at their Citys neighbors’ expense, not their County neighbors’. Most of the people who spoke at last night’s public hearing were non-City residents hoping to shove these programs off on City residents so that their tax money can go to other things back home. There was one man that was proposing that the City start a resident detox facility for the region, using City money. jogger, that’s why I used the word “new,” these funds are in addition to the funds currently paid out.

  48. Everybody looks to the city to be all things to all people. For this type of thinking the middle class is near extinction in the city. Cville Eye you are right, most or at least a lot of the folks who come before council when the money is being handed out are the beggars and budget looters from outside the city limits. I have never understood why the city allows these people to even speak. My hard earned tax dollars are being spent on some program because someone from wherever came before council with his/her wish list for my tax dollars. Rediculous!
    Lonnie, Norris would be the last to suggest that someone would have to actually perform work for their housing. (each according to his needs, each according to his ability..) Although that is a novel idea. Get a job, save your money and buy your own home. What an idea.

  49. It appears as if neither jogger nor c’ville eye attended (or paid close attention) to last night’s hearing. Not only were the majority of people who spoke from the city (as witnessed by the addresses they gave) but there is clear evidence that there is a crisis with regards to affordable housing in our fair city. It was interesting to learn how difficult it is not only for the poorest citizens but also our teachers, police officer’s, hospital staff, etc. to purchase a house in Charlottesville. Thankfully all of our city councilors agree that the market can not be left alone to solve this problem and that there are a number of very important groups in town who are working on solving this problem. This issue between the councilors was if it was wise to dedicate funds to the problem in the manner suggested by mayor Norris. It seemed that the majority felt that it was best to view this problem within the larger context of the budget.

    Have no fear . . some of your tax dollars (of which you have already turned over into the hands of your local government) will go towards helping solve a problem which negatively effects all of us. It is a good thing too because it is very very doubtful that if the government’s money was left to sit with the rest of your money then very likely little would be done with regards to such vital public services.

  50. Give me a break Nalle. I don’t want to hear anymore about the “poor” teachers, policemen, firemen, and professional hospital staff not being able to purchase a house in Charlotteville. They all make enough money to purchase a house in Charlottesville if they want. You need to look at the salaries they are making. Outrageous for what they do, especially the city teachers. This thing of trying to make everybody feel sympathy and pity for the poor policemen, firemen, teachers and hospital staff is a bunch of grap! they don’t need or deserve any special handouts or assistance when it comes to purchasing a home. Most of them do not live in Charlottesville simply because they choose not to.

  51. quote >> “…there is clear evidence that there is a crisis with regards to affordable housing in our fair city. It was interesting to learn how difficult it is not only for the poorest citizens but also our teachers, police officer’s, hospital staff, etc. to purchase a house in Charlottesville…”

    Exactly who helped cause this problem? Duh, the City of Charlottesville, that’s who!!!! Several years in a row they handed us triple digit increases in tax assessments. The value of my home went up $100,000 in just the last five years. $17,000 increase this year alone. No wonder there is a major crisis.

  52. Demopublican: I’m not sure if I follow. . . when you purchase a house the price is generally pegged by the market (comps etc) and has nothing to do with assessments. The value of your home is increasing, not because of the city, but rather because a lot of folks with money want to move into Charlottesville. As houses are purchased for more and more money everyone’s assessments rise. This is because the value of your house has increased.

    I hear what your saying about increasing taxes and certainly there are some folks on fixed income who are being affected here. . . but it seemed like another side of the problem is the sheer ticket price of buying and renting in Charlottesville. In many many ways I feel like it is a great thing that the housing market is robust in our city (I own a house) but I also think that someone needs to step in and help those who are being left behind.

    And I’m fairly certain that a family run on a teacher’s salary cannot afford to buy too many houses in Charlottesville.

  53. I am glad the City archives the Council meetings on its website. A review of the video will show that many of the speakers did not give any address, some only said with Church they belonged to or which organization or non-profit they worked for. That information does not constitute an address. I always pay close attention to these things. I am also well aware of what the question was under consideration, I read the agenda and keep one up on the computer during the meeting. I wonder why there is such a rush to get Council to be the only jurisdiction in Central Virginia to provide millions for housing? Charlottesville is less than 11 square miles in area. Albemarle, Greene, Louisa, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Nelson, Madison and Orange are hundreds of square miles each. They keep throwing around the firgure that 3900 people in central Virginia need “affordable” housing, why must it be provided by Charlottesville only? Region Ren said it has 150 people in Staunton that with this need. Why must it be here in Charlottesville? Charlottesville has the only homeless shelfter in Central Virginia. Charlottesville has the only public housing (356 units) in Central Virginia. There are those that Does anybody believe that these people are all working in these 11 square miles? They are not working on Pantops and 29N? If the current residents are complaining about their property taxes, who’s going to pay the property taxes for the 3900? Albemarle? I loved it when David Brown called IMPACT down for misleading (or was it out-right lying?) to Council last year when it said it was going to approach Albemarle County about the same issue. Although it claims it has 1600 members from area congregations total 7000 members, it couldn’t find one who could attend a BoS meeting? It obviously never intended to involve any of the surrounding counties. Nalle, where do you think these additional 3900 people will live?

  54. C’ville eye . . . I think the question of sharing the responsibility of affordable housing is a critical one. I think you’ve hit it correctly when you note that Impact and other groups seem to be focused on getting Charlottesville to lead the charge. I think the best response that I heard last night was that someone has to take the lead. Of course, David Brown noted that he was worried that if C’ville takes a strong lead that Albemarle and other counties will take that as an excuse not to do anything. This is clearly a regional problem and there needs to be a regional solution. I guess I still feel like someone has to take the lead and Charlottesville is the largest employer of the folks that need the most help. The other thing I’d add is that it doesn’t seem (to me) that this is such a rush as this same issue was raised last year. Housing is on the top of many citizens lists of concerns. . should the council be doing something? Your last question. . where do I think these additional 3900 people will live? They are living here. . . its just that they are living very very poorly and need some help. Thats what I took away. (and I’m not going to go back and listen or read about it. . it was quite long enough to go through it once!)

  55. I am glad the City archives the Council meetings on its website. A review of the video will show that many of the speakers did not give any address, some only said with Church they belonged to or which organization or non-profit they worked for.

    FWIW, I tried to download the video to pull out the relevant bits and post ’em to YouTube this evening, but it’s only available as streaming video right now, not QuickTime.

  56. Nalle, Charlottesvile has already taken the lead, for 40 years. Each of the surrounding counties receive one-sixth of the federal HOME funds. They use these funds to hire people in their housing office to geive out Section 8 vouchers and a bus ticket to Charlottesville, run a heating assistance program and occasionaly give funds to PHA, Habitat and AHIP. The City has spent well over a million every year in housing programs, donate the lion’s share of it $600K CDBG funds to housing, support the ONLY public housing in central Virginia providing housing for citizens of A,G,M,O,F,B, and Nelson counties, support the ONLY homeless shelter in cetral Virginia providing housing for citizens of A,G,M,O,F,B, and Nelson counties, house the majority of Region Ten’s clients, and host nuremerous real estate tax-exempt organizations within its borders of a measly 11 square miles. It also hosts the large Section 8 compexes of Blue Ridge Commons and Friedship Court and spend a great deal of its resources on those residents and their families. For decades, we have funded downpayment and closings costs, home owner counseling, hew construction, and homeowner and rental rehap programs, and substantial and neighborhood rehap programs. Albemarle has just begun going down that road in any noticieable way. The rest of the counties help by not zoning out trailer parks. We have taken the lead for 40 years (over 50 if you include the establishment of public housing) and, as long as we continue to walk miles ahead, the surrounding counties can continue to go their merry way ignoring the problems of THEIR residents and welcoming the far more affluent inot their 3000 square foot new homes.
    I really don’t blame you for not wanting to watch the video again, the public hearing lasted until after 9:15 PM.
    Charlottesville is not the largest employer of these people. Most of UVA is in the county. Most of the commercail establishments are not in the cities and that trend will probably continue.
    If the City would tell these “advocates” no, maybe, just maybe, THEY will start putting pressure on the other localities and tying up their business meetings with requests for them to take care all of their citizens because “diversity” is just as good for the people in the surrounding counties as it is for the paltry 40,000 people who are living in the city limits. For the benefit of our neighbors, let’s share the wealth. Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is hosting a conference on local housing needs, let’s see if they attend that. I, for one, am not interested in helping to pay the rent for somebody to live in an apartment that I, myself, cannot afford. Nor am I interested in paying any part of their mortgages. I don’t know of any other locality in the US (probably because I don’t know that many localities) where the insane idea prevails that the locality must provide housing for any and all people who wish to live there at a price that they can afford. It’s interesting that the superintendent of Louisa schools was saying just a couple of weeks ago that he was afraid that he would lose some of his teachers who live in Charlottesville because of the high cost of gas. How is it that enough of the Louisa County teachers can afford to live in Chalbemarle that he notices? It says to me that most of this rhetoric is crap.

  57. Waldo, I believe that public hearing lasted around an hour and forty-five minutes. You weren’t planning to extract just the salutations were you? That might be very time consuming.

  58. I think what the public hearing showed last night is that our City budget does not does not necessarily do a very good job of reflecting community priorities. Consider that City residents (along with the Chamber of Commerce, the Realtors Association, the Commission on Children & Families, and a whole bevy of community organizations who understand the difficult, real-life choices that our residents have to make for lack of affordable housing) consistently rank affordable housing as the #1 or #2 biggest unmet need in the City, and City residents clearly want to see us take bolder action on this issue (as demonstrated by the hearing last night — largest turnout of residents on any budget item in recent memory), yet the affordable housing fund in this year’s proposed budget will only amount to 1% of City spending. That’s right: 1% for one of our top community priorities. I believe, and all 4 of my fellow Councilors agreed, that we can and should be doing more to increase the size of this fund (and not just from local tax revenues) so that our budget starts to more accurately reflect the needs of our community and the strongly- and repeatedly-articulated will of our citizens.

  59. Thank you, Mr. Norris for your comments. “…the Chamber of Commerce, the Realtors Association, the Commission on Children & Families, and a whole bevy of community organizations who understand the difficult, real-life choices that our residents have to make for lack of affordable housing…” and they say it is a problem in every county in central Virginia. It is a regional issue that requires a regional solution. No where have I seen statements by those organizations indicating that housing for 3900 people should be located within the City’s limits embracing a paltry 11 square miles. It has been shown time and time again, particularly in areas more urban than Charlottesville, that it is not healthy for cities, the majority of their residents or even the economically dependent residents themselves to concentrate a large number of primarily unsuccessful people in a small area. I also feel it is a disservice to many of them to uproot them from their life-long commuunities of family and other social supports such as church to move them to reservations where those who make a living by providing them with services can find it convenient to do so. Why should people who live in Greene, Madison, Orange, Fluvanna, Louisa, Goochland, Nelson and Augusta counties have to move here into 11 square miles in order to find housing they can afford? For example, with the exception of Albemarle County, where are the tracts of land that are zoned for multi-family housing in those counties? How long ago have these counties supported a PHA or Habitat project within their borders? Why is it that these agencies are only approaching the City openly?
    David Toscano advocated for years for a regional approach and Council listened while at the same time went about shoring-up neighborhoods like Starr Hill, Belmont and 10th & Page with improved housing. As Mr. Huja stated last night, these projects are usually three years in the making. Why should there an ordinance or even an agreement to allocate a certain amount of City real estate tax funds to a stagnate pot of money other than the fact that the City has several stagnate pots of money earmarked for other purposes?
    I doubt if most people in the City were aware until last night that people from all over (you are constantly saying that 56% of the applicants for public housing do not live or work here meaning I take it that 44% neither live nor work here) are asking that we City taxpayers help them pay their rent or mortgage. Federal programs provide money for that and that’s where they should go.
    I agree with the many, the issue of providing safe and decent housing exists but it is clearly unwise for Charlottesville to set itself up as the mecca for low-income housing simply because other localities do not step up to their responsibilites or the “advocates” or their clients do not pressure them to do so. I’m glad that TJPDC is hosting a conference in March and I hope the City officials who attend and all of the “advocates” will make regional cooperation the main topic of consideration. If it doesn’t happen then somebody’s motives are circumspect.

  60. No surrounding counties have any incentive to do anything about housing for the poor and disadvantaged when the rich uncle Charlottesville is only a stones throw away. People from all over the eastern u.s. come to charlottesville to find housing. The word has spread far and wide that charlottesville will find poor people housing, employment etc. etc. and welcome them with open arms.
    Mr. Norris who are these groups who strongly and repeatedly so well articulate the will of our citizens. Do they have a vested (financial) interest in seeing more people and housing within the city limits? They sure don’t represent my views!! Until surrounding counties step up to the plate and equal or surpass the efforts of charlottesville in the area of housing, I for one think it is time for Charlottesville to rein in its housing genourisity for the poor (including teachers, policemen, firement etc….). Our taxpayer dollars can be spent much more wisley. The poor will always be around and always have their needs and housing is just one of their many problems.

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