Blair Hawkins | Charlottesville, Virginia |

County Courts May Move To Albemarle Square. Thursday May 4, 2017.

Court Square is the latest unintended consequence of annexation, and payment not to annex called revenue sharing. The County courts are no longer in the County, thus violating the principle of local rule. The City has acted with bad will for many decades, like not making payments to Juvenile Courthouse renovation and Solid Waste Authority. The City is like a bad neighbor whose arguments keep changing.

The latest argument is that County-owned land within the City was never annexed. When you go to the County Office building, you're not subject to City laws because its County territory as well as County property. That might be why City Council thought the City-owned Ragged Mountain Reservoir, leased to joint-venture Rivanna water, is not subject to County authority. Somehow it's City territory outside the City.

This very issue came up in 2001. Videotape aired on WVIR NBC-29 appeared to show police brutality. The interrogation occurred at the County police station inside the City. The officer was later charged by the City commonwealth's attorney because the alleged assault occurred in City territory albeit County land. The victim was later acquitted by a County jury because his alleged assault occurred in County territory.

State funding of schools is another unexpected outcome. The School Composite Index is a form of means testing for localities. But it doesn't see the City income gained, or the County income lost to revenue sharing. So the City unfairly receives several million dollars extra. The City's argument is the County wants to take money from City children. While the County is right, a couple Delegates introduced then withdrew a bill to make the Composite Index count all the income of municipalities.

When you're a town, nobody cares about annexation. The borders change but you're still in the county. When the town becomes a city, it's no longer part of the county. The county suddenly has a budget shortfall equal to the local taxes from the town. With every annexation the county has a budget shortfall equal to taxes paid from the area just annexed. Government has only one morality– more money good, less money bad. So a county sees annexation as equal to a military invasion, resulting in great ill will.

The state and federal see cities and counties as completely separate jurisdictions. Historically great favor has been given to cities. When you travel and see the city border far from the urban area, that's annexation abuse, declaring a rural area to be urban so the rural tax can go to the city. But counties have no power to annex, and no ally in the courts.

So you have more unintended consequences. There are no counties in southeast Virginia. Under constant threat of annexation, the counties re-incorporated into cities to prevent loss of revenue and territory. Charlottesville and Albemarle cooperate more than any two municipalities in the world. It was a legal strategy in the 1970s to prevent annexation. According to late Mayor Mitch Van Yahres in a 2006 forum about the downtown pedestrian mall, Van Yahres said he was the last mayor to lose an annexation before the state-wide moratorium. He wanted to annex Fashion Square and Pantops Shopping Center.

Under the 1982 Revenue Sharing Agreement, Albemarle agrees to purchase Charlottesville's right to annex. Under the 1987 moratorium, Charlottesville has no such right. So Charlottesville is in violation of the agreement since 1987 and owes Albemarle a huge refund. The City sees the threat of less money, the highest moral imperative for a government.

So Karma zeroes in on the Independent City of Charlottesville.

The Formula to Compute the Annual Payment

Information needed:

  • Population of the city and county as determined by US Census, and by the Tayloe Murphy Institute of the University of Virginia in years between censuses.
  • True real property Tax Rates for city and county as determined by Virginia Department of Taxation.
  • Total Assessed Value of Taxable Property for city and county to find Total Contribution to revenue and economic growth sharing fund.

a = city and b = county

  1. Population Index. P=Population

    PIa = Pa / (Pa + Pb)
    PIb = Pb / (Pa + Pb)
  2. Tax Index. T=Tax Rate

    TIa = Ta / (Ta + Tb)
    TIb = Tb / (Ta + Tb)
  3. Composite Index

    CIa = (PIa + TIa) / 2
    CIb = (PIb + TIb) / 2
  4. Contribution to Fund. 0.0037 = valuation factor (37cents per $100 assessed value)

    Ca = (0.0037)(Total Value of Taxable Property in city)
    Cb = (0.0037)( “ “ county)
  5. Distribution

    Da = (CIa)(Ca + Cb)
    Db = (CIb)(Ca + Cb)
  6. Net Transfer

    Net = Da – Ca = Db – Cb

Here’s the first example given for Jan. 31, 1983 initial payment.

Pa = 39,916        Pb = 55,783
Ta = 0.91510      Tb = 0.49848

CIa = ½ [ (Pa / (Pa+Pb)) + (Ta / (Ta+Tb)) ]
CIb = ½ [ (Pb / (Pa+Pb)) + (Tb / (Ta+Tb)) ]

Ca = (0.0037)($  651,387,930) = 2,410,135
Cb = (0.0037)($1,229,123,396) = 4,547,759

Total Contributions C = (Ca+Cb) = 6,957,894


Da = (CIa)(Ca+Cb) = (0.5323)(6,957,894) = 3,703,687
Db = (CIb)(Ca+Cb) = (0.4677)(6,957,894) = 3,254,207

Net Transfer.

NET = Da – Ca = Db – Cb

NETa = Da – Ca = 3,703,687 – 2,410,135 = +$1,293,552
NETb = Db – Cb = 3,254,552 – 4,547,759 = –$1,293,552

(+) is transfer to you and (–) is transfer from you

NETa = (CIa)(Ca+Cb) – (0.0037)(total assessed property value for city)
NETb = (CIb)(Ca+Cb) – (0.0037)( “ “ county)

Albemarle: Jefferson's County, 1727–1976. John Hammond Moore. Albemarle County Historical Society.

The Agreement

Blair Hawkins | Charlottesville, Virginia | | Résumé | Top