Roanoke City property tax bills increase due to supply shortages in vehicle market

The value of vehicles is determined by a price guide

People in Roanoke are sounding off after opening up their property tax bill and seeing big increases.

ROANOKE, Va. – Taxpayers in Roanoke City may have seen a higher property tax bill this year due to ongoing supply shortages in the vehicle market.

For residents, they may have to decide how to make ends meet.

“I will be having to choose between groceries or paying an astronomically high personal property tax bill. This is going to make me go further into debt. A delinquent amount was shown on my bill and when I called I was told it wasn’t in fact delinquent Roanoke City decided to bill more,” Rose Mary, a Roanoke City resident said.

She went on to add, “Some people got this extra bill at the end of last year while others are stuck with an extra bill and expected to pay it off by the end of May. Absolutely crazy and not fair to the citizens of Roanoke City.”

The Commissioner of the Revenue, Ryan LaFountain, says the value of vehicles was determined by a price guide, JD Power, which provides an estimate of the vehicle’s value based on its clean loan value.

“What we witnessed this year was the broad base of the value of these vehicles, new old, sedan, SUV or truck, the whole gambit has been affected by the changes in the demand, the increase in demand without the resulting increase in supply that would have kept prices constant,” LaFountain said.

Officials say when using this value, as opposed to the clean retail value, it provides the lowest valuation. If they used the clean retail value, bills would have increased even further. The clean loan value accounts for the wear and tear on vehicles.

LaFountain emphasized that it wasn’t a decision made by the city, stating the tax bills have increased due to market conditions.

WSLS 10 checked with city leaders and only Roanoke City Councilmember Stephanie Moon-Reynolds responded.

Moon-Reynolds told 10 News that the city council had ample time to discuss ways to reduce the tax burden on citizens.

Moon-Reynolds said the council knew about the increase in February but has done nothing.

However, people in the county are seeing some relief. Roanoke County leaders took action to choose to increase the personal property tax relief percentage.

“One method that we had to collect less taxes would be to increase that percentage because that is what worked the best with our system,” Richard Caywood, Roanoke County Administrator said. “The calculated money we would have received from the commonwealth would have been 47.5% now that we increased that to 83.3% which essentially matched us dollar for dollar by the commonwealth.”

Roanoke City residents said they plan to attend the city’s meeting Tuesday, asking council to approve a tax rebate.

If you feel as if your vehicle’s value was not accurately represented on your bill, you’re asked to contact the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office by calling 540-853-2521 or by emailing revenue@roanoke.gov.


About the Authors:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.