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2018-04-25 / Featured / Front Page / Real Estate

Charter Colony residents denounce tax district

BY JIM McCONNELL STAFF WRITER


Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris addresses residents who live in neighborhoods along Charter Colony Parkway at Swift Creek Elementary School last week. 
JAMES HASKINS Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris addresses residents who live in neighborhoods along Charter Colony Parkway at Swift Creek Elementary School last week. JAMES HASKINS Chesterfield residents once again are demanding answers from county officials about a special assessment they pay annually to help fund a future interchange project at Powhite and Charter Colony parkways.

A group of about 75 people peppered Clover Hill District Supervisor Chris Winslow and two county staff members with questions last week during a meeting at Swift Creek Elementary School.

They live within the boundaries of a service district the Board of Supervisors created in 2005 to generate capital revenue from a sprawling piece of property that had been zoned prior to adoption of the county’s cash proffer policy.

All property owners within the service district pay a surcharge of 15 cents per $100 of assessed value in addition to their regular real estate taxes.

At the Thursday meeting, Deputy County Administrator Matt Harris said the special assessment, which averages about $600 annually per homeowner, effectively replaces cash proffers that were never collected from properties in the Queensgate, Queensbluff and Centerpointe Crossing subdivisions.

“In a number of the phone calls I’ve received [citizens] have asked, ‘Why are we being singled out to pay for this interchange?’ The reality is, all residential development in the county makes a capital contribution of some variety,” he added.

“While we don’t have another service district like this in Chesterfield, we do have other arrangements where residential communities make capital contributions in a different manner.”

Under the terms of a community development authority established by the Board of Supervisors in 2007, Magnolia Green homeowners pay a special assessment to fund improvements to nearby Otterdale and Woolridge roads.

Those road construction projects are to be financed through bonds issued by the community development authority. The bonds will be repaid through a 30-year assessment on all property in the western Chesterfield community, which also was zoned without cash proffers.

Both the Powhite-Charter Colony service district and the Magnolia Green CDA have been sore subjects for affected homeowners.

Prior to the end of his second term as Midlothian’s supervisor in 2015, Dan Gecker unsuccessfully lobbied his fellow board members to dissolve the Powhite-Charter Colony service district, arguing it unfairly burdens a small group of taxpayers.

There are 224 residential properties and 44 commercial properties within the service district, which has generated about $4 million in revenue to date.

Many people claimed they weren’t informed about the 15-cent assessment prior to closing on their homes. Others decried the open-ended nature of the service district, saying at least the Magnolia Green CDA assessments end after 30 years.

“Would I vote for one of these today? Probably not,” Winslow said. “All I can ask you to do is bear with me as we continue to try and make this go away as quickly as possible.” ¦

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