What Roanoke residents can expect following approval of personal property tax rebate

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:06 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A back-and-forth discussion weighing which option would be best led to the Roanoke City Council deciding in a 5-2 vote that residents will receive 17.5% percent of the money back they paid on their personal property tax this year.

Councilman Bill Bestpitch and Councilman Joe Cobb voted against. Each was in favor of a rebate, just not the percentage option.

“If everybody gets back the 17.5%, that’s equal. We’ve had a lot of discussion in recent years about the difference between equality and equity. It’s equal but it’s not equitable,” said Bestpitch.

“I’ve talked to a number of people that are in different places regarding this and some who because of the hardship, would appreciate a rebate for a variety of reasons, and some who said if we can continue increasing the pavement in our city because so many streets need it, I would support that as well,” said Cobb.

There were other options, including a flat rate not exceeding what a resident paid and another flat rate capped at $82.77.

“I don’t agree with the flat amount because if your tax rate was below and you had an older car and you didn’t pay anything, I don’t think it’s fair that you get $82,” said Councilwoman Stephanie Moon Reynolds.

City Council members chose to distribute the $5.9 million surplus through a 17.5% rebate on the tax paid on each vehicle, meaning if you paid around $218, you can expect to get around $38 back.

City Manager Bob Cowell said this is all possible as long as they are able to hit 91% of the money the city is owed on those taxes by August 31, which he also said they are on track to hit at this time.

If the city doesn’t hit 91%, the rebate will be adjusted for the percentage they are able to collect. As long as all goes to plan, city leaders would like to disperse those rebates in September.

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