Real estate assessments skyrocket in Buena Vista, causing concerns for homeowners

We sat down with the city to see how their making up for the increase

BUENA VISTA, Va. – When Richard Caine got his real estate assessment in the mail Thursday, he thought there’d been a mistake.

“It’s up $18,000. To 84%. To 84.06%.”

Caine said the numbers he saw knocked him off his feet.

“It’s astronomical. It’s egregious.”

He bought his house in October, and said he’s made absolutely no changes, but still his building value jumped from around $92,000 to $110,000.

“I know we’ve got schools, pools, public parks to maintain, but you don’t do it with 84%,” he said.

Caine tells 10 News he doesn’t know how people will be able to live — he said especially in what he considers to be an aging town with a lot of fixed incomes.

“It’s absolutely a concern. I think people could be forced out of their homes with a rate like this,” Caine said.

The current tax rate in Buena Vista is $1.27 per every $100 of assessed value, compared to Roanoke at $1.22, Roanoke County at $1.06 and Lexington at $0.92.

With that tax rate and the increase in value, Caine’s taxes show a jump from about $750 to almost $1,400.

“It means more cutbacks. A cheap loaf of Wonder Bread is $3.69 for the worst bread ever. The economy is bad and this is hitting you even harder.”

We wanted answers, so we went directly to the city, and sat down with Finance Director Charles Clemmer.

He tells us the city does these assessments every four years, so a jump in value was expected.

“It’s based on the price it sells as, so within the last four years, certain houses probably sold for way more than they did initially,” Clemmer said.

But, Clemmer tells us they’re going to account for that jump. It just hasn’t happened yet.

They’re planning on changing the tax rate to 91 cents, to fall in line with state code.

“On average, your bill should be about the same as you paid last year,” Clemmer said.

Clemmer said they hope to have that rate changed by next month.

Residents have until June 7 to appeal their assessment, which Caine still plans to do.

“If it doesn’t get lowered, that’s what lawyers are for. For the price I’m gonna be paying, I’ll take half of that and get a lawyer,” he said.

Information on how to appeal is at the bottom of the letter you received in the mail.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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