RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney today announced $18 million in property tax rebates for Richmond residents, with checks expected to go out early next year.

Earlier this year, City Council took up three different proposals on the real estate tax, designed to relieve some of the burden placed on Richmond residents as home prices rise.

Currently, Richmond residents pay $1.20 per $100 of assessed value on properties. Under the mayor and city council’s “five-back initiative” residents would get a five-cent tax rebate, effectively reducing the tax rate this year to $1.15.

“I think that’s so critical,” said Council President Ellen Robertson.

Stoney said he expected that checks would go out to “qualifying property owners” early next year, with a total of $18 million set aside in the budget to fulfill the rebates.

“I want to thank our co-patrons for supporting this pragmatic initiative to meet rising assessments,” he 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 out core services,” he said.

The mayor also announced that the city would pursue several other reforms to the city’s property tax assessments, though he noted that under Virginia law, many would require an act of the General Assembly to implement.