The Homeowner Grant Program (something we pushed for in last year’s budget) is vulnerable due to a high cost of administration. We encourage you to contact the County Commissioners in support of protecting it. The need for the homeowners grant program is just as strong as last year, and getting rid of it is not a viable option. If kept alive, the program could continue to benefit folks whose taxes have gone up substantially (a $500 per year credit). We agree with those who are suggesting that such grants could be made automatic to qualifying homeowners, massively decreasing the cost of administration and (probably marginally) increasing the possibility of fraud.
It’s troubling that this fairly minor program, that only scratches the surface in mitigating our inequitable property taxes, is now in jeopardy. We should be figuring out how to offer folks more relief, not less. We think finding a solution to the high administrative costs of the Homeowner Grant Program, rather than simply canceling the program, is important, and it’s important that the County Commissioners hear from us about how needed this program is in the community so that it remains active.
To contact the Buncombe County Commissioners and share your support of the Homeowner Grant Program, go to this link and scroll down to the input form. Here is a message that you can copy, paste, and personalize:
Dear County Commissioners,
I was glad to read that the Homeowner Grant Program you put in place last year offered needed support to 1,263 community members, but concerned at the high cost of administering the program. I was even more concerned to read that the program might not be renewed because of those high costs.
As you know, there is ample evidence that our property tax appraisals are racially inequitable, and Black homeowners are in jeopardy of being priced out of their homes. This program doesn’t solve that problem, but does offer at least some temporary relief while a longer term solution is pursued. I urge you to work with County staff to find a simpler process for approving these grants, so that this program can not only continue, but can offer more support to even more community members in need.