RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and his administration are introducing a new initiative aimed at putting money back in property owners’ pockets. 

On Friday afternoon, they announced $18 million dollars’ worth of tax rebates for qualifying Richmond residents.

Mayor Stoney is calling it the “5 Back initiative”.  He says the main objective is to provide long-term financial relief in 2023. 

He added that the city’s real estate property tax rate hasn’t been raised in 14 years, and it’s his hope that the initiative can be used as an anti-displacement tool to help the most vulnerable city residents stay in the city.

”This proposal will use fiscal year of 2022 surplus dollars to provide relief with a onetime 5 cent real estate tax rebate, for property owners,” he said.  

The announcement comes after calls to cut the rate have grown louder since the average assessed value of a home in the city of Richmond increased 13% over the past year

Currently, Richmond residents pay $1.20 per $100 of assessed value on properties.  

So, what would that mean under the 5 back initiative? 

“Our 5 back initiative, is the equivalent of a current tax rate of a dollar twenty of assessed value, being cut to a dollar fifteen,” Stoney said.

However, he said that his administration couldn’t support a permanent reduction to the property tax rate because of the city’s ongoing debt obligations.

“At this time permanently cutting the tax rate would impact our ability to provide core service to our residents, our community. It also means we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the increasing maintenance needs of our roadways, parks, libraries, and schools,“ the mayor said.  

The proposed rebate would be provided via check in early 2023.   

The mayor says 6 members of the city council have already signed on their support for the initiative as of Friday afternoon.