A recent article in the Asheville Citizen Times, discussed the large price tag associated with a much needed tax grant/abatement program that the County and City offered last year.

I have to say, this was really frustrating. When the County and City first proposed this rebate/grant, I strongly advocated for it to be automatic, based on a formula involving length of home ownership (over 10 years) percentage increase in valuation (over 25%), and actual assessment value (under $300k)—obviously the specific formula could be tweaked to target those suffering most from increased taxes.

Had the County and City Council done this, no one would have had to jump through application hoops. The abatement could simply have been applied to the tax bills of those who qualified, using information local government already has in its property database. Many more would have appropriately received relief and staff time would have been reduced to almost nothing.

Yes, it’s possible a few might have received abatements they didn’t truly need. But the huge reduction in staff time and the much broader and easier distribution to those actually in need would have far outweighed that.

I hate to say “I told you so,” but I did.

[This video comment about automatic tax grants makes reference to equity issues around Asheville’s stated reparations goals. Generational wealth is built through home ownership, and these tax grants can help legacy families keep their property and stay in Asheville.]

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