Charlottesville City Council Approves Increase in Lodging and Meals Taxes
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People in Charlottesville weighed in on how taxpayer dollars are set to be spent in 2020 as as councilors made some tough decisions on taxes in the city.
On Monday councilors decided on a number of proposed tax increases to go toward affordable housing efforts while some housing advocates said the city's current plan may not be enough.
Two tax increases in Charlottesville will go into effect in hopes of addressing the city's affordable housing need, but not all councilors were on the same page. Councilors approved an increase in the lodging tax and voted on an increase in the meals tax increase 4 to 1, without the support of Councilor Mike Signer.
"I’m very concerned about this element increasing the cost of living here,” said Signer. "I have heard from restaurateurs and the people that work there. I'm concerned about it, and about the differential with Albemarle County. It will still be significantly higher than the county."
The $188.8 million fiscal year 2020 budget no longer included a proposed raise in the real estate tax after city staff presented council with an option that would keep funds earmarked for debt in the city's budget.
"They listened to the way we're agonizing over using a tax increase to cover a one-time cash outlay. Now having said all that, that does not remove the fact that we know it's going to be a long-term commitment we have to make on housing,” said City Councilor Kathy Galvin.
Members of the Charlottesville Low Income Housing Coalition said the plan falls short when it comes to future funding for affordable housing in the city.
"We need to be thinking down the road, so long term, I think you're doing a great job short term, but let’s think what’s going to happen over the next 15 years for the need we're going to have to fill 3,300 units,” said Walt Heinecke, with the Charlottesville Low Income Housing Coalition.
The meals and lodging taxes will go into effect in July. Councilors will vote on the budget April 8.