Council Has Officially Raised Your Taxes
At our April 13th meeting, the majority on Council made a motion to maintain the current Property Tax Rate at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, which would result in a $4+ million tax increase in Lynchburg.
I offered an amendment to the main motion, which was to change the discussion from $1.11 to $1.07. Just last week, Council learned the updated projections on a variety of taxes (Meals, Businesses License, Sales, etc.) and they all total $2.4 million in additional revenue. I am convinced Council can then entertain the discussion of $1.07, and not diminish any services, because of this new revenue.
Procedurally, the vote on my effort to amend the overall motion was to entertain a debate on $1.07. If my motion passed, the overarching motion for the Property Tax Rate would be amended accordingly, and an ensuing vote would be in order on setting the overall rate to $1.07. This effort, to simply enter debate on $1.07, failed on a 4-3 vote.
According to Council's Rules and Procedure, Council can only consider two amendments to an overall motion. So, I again made an effort to amend the motion so Council could entertain debate on $1.09. If Council wouldn't consider splitting the difference on full equalization, maybe there would be at least some marginal consideration for the taxpayer. This effort also failed on a 4-3 vote.
To be clear: these votes were not to set the overall rate at $1.07 or $1.09, this was an effort to just entertain debate of these alternative rates, and Council rejected the notion of simply allowing the discussion. In an effort to be transparent, anything more than $1.03 is a tax increase in Lynchburg, yet the majority was moving forward with keeping the tax increase as high as possible. By offering to change the discussion and entertain debate on lower rates, I was able to push for lowering the rate as low as possible.
In this clip, I ask a rhetorical question, "If I motioned for $1.10, would the majority even go with it?" That would be just going down one penny, saving taxpayers a fraction of their tax hike, if anything. Yet, based on the path taken by Council, I must walk away from such a question with one answer: no. Not one ounce of recognition for your pocketbook.
My intention, in the end, was to push for a discussion on a rate as low as possible, but not support an amended motion (if it did somehow pass) of either $1.07 or $1.09 as they would still be a tax increase. The end result might not have been as dire.
Friends, the majority has demonstrated debate is not even worth it on alternative rates, let alone a final vote on the proposal. They have now voted four separate times to tax you as much as they can, to the tune of $4+ million.
I voted against $1.11, along with Councilmembers Helgeson and Nelson. I know I kept my word on not supporting a tax increase in Lynchburg, but also fought as hard as possible to get lower options on the table for debate. Ultimately, the majority sided with the government, and I know I fought tooth and nail to get the rate as low as possible.
Ward IV, I will continue to do all I can to fight for lower taxes in Lynchburg, fiscal responsibility, limited government, and your bottom line.
Remember these votes for the At-Large elections next year.
Chris Faraldi, M.A.
Ward IV Representative
Lynchburg City Council