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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Board of Supervisors to consider two-cent increase in tax rate

The Board of Supervisors
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted March 4 to advertise a fiscal year 2015 real estate tax rate of $1.105 per $100 of assessed value. That’s a two-cent increase from the current rate of $1.085.

“Advertising a higher rate sets an upper threshold as budget decisions are considered,” said BoS Chair Sharon Bulova. “The board can adopt a tax rate that is lower but not higher than what is advertised.”

The board’s decision to advertise a higher rate does not mean that will be the rate approved when the BoS formally adopts a 2015 budget April 29, Bulova said, but “it is important that the board allows for flexibility in considering a tax rate so that debate and discussion is not cut off at the very beginning of the budget process.”

County Executive Ed Long had initially recommended that the tax rate for 2015 be maintained at the 2014 rate, at the request of the board. “However,” he advised the BoS, “given the topics that will likely be the focus of the discussion on the budget—employee pay and the transfer to [Fairfax County Public Schools—it may be prudent for the board to advertise a tax rate increase higher than the $1.085 rate to allow the flexibility to address issues beyond the county executive’s budget recommendations.”

According to the county executive’s proposed budget, one penny of the tax rate is equal to roughly $21.9 million in general fund revenue and $50 for the average Fairfax County residential tax bill.

Bulova noted that the board needs to take into account increased real estate assessments due to recovery in the housing market. The average homeowner will see a $331 increase in property taxes this year. Increasing the tax rate by two cents means homeowners would have to pay an additional $100.

The budget proposed by Long calls for a 1.29 percent increase in employee compensation, and Bulova said she would “work with my colleagues to identify funding to raise this to 2 percent.”

A critical issue for the BoS is how much county funding should be transferred to the school system. School board members and other school advocates were extremely disappointed when Long proposed increasing funds for FCPS by only 2 percent over the current-year amount. The school board had earlier approved a budget calling for a 5.7 percent increase—which it believes is necessary to keep up with rising enrollment and uncontrollable costs.

The increase in assessments is expected to generate $146 million in 2015, and school advocates are urging the BoS to provide half of those funds to FCPS—at the same rate the county budget is split among the county government and school system. Currently, 53 percent of the county budget is transferred to FCPS. The BoS, however, is considering only passing on 26 percent of the additional property tax revenue to the schools.

The BoS has scheduled public hearings on the budget on April 8, 9, and 10. Residents who want to speak at a hearing can sign up online.

The board has also scheduled a series of town hall meetings in each supervisory district. The Mason District meeting will be March 19, 7 p.m., at Annandale High School.

14 comments:

  1. So after a 13% increase in my 50+ year old house assed value, 20% increase in sales tax, $33 annual auto sticker, tax on gas, electric, water, and free handouts to undocumented (illegal) residents of Fairfax county, enough is enough. Time for term limits and vote out the idiots the next chance you get.

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    1. The notion of "free handouts to illegals" is simply false. With the glaring exception of free public education -- required by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Plyler v. Doe decision -- Fairfax County really doesn't provide a lot of benefits to residents without legal status. Section 8, for example, is not available to anyone without legal status (and simply having a U.S.-born kid doesn't get you Section 8, everyone on the lease has to be legal).

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    2. Ok, no free handouts. What about the other issues? Can we get term limits for BOS?

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    3. Term limits!

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    4. A problem with illegal aliens,however is that they do not pay taxes. The county does not verify residency when they sign their kids up for school, so guess one of the reasons why our schools are overcrowded and underfunded? The more we allow this to happen the more we are going to pay in taxes for those breaking the law. Those who are here legally on a visa and have a child do not get to stay beyond the length of their visa, even if their children are U.S. Citizens. Why do we keep looking the other way for those here illegally? If you support them staying here, then expect to pay more taxes, and expect more and more people to come and take advantage of our generosity.

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    5. Every weekday morning and evening vehicles descend on my neighborhood, drop children off to be picked up by public school bus and return in the evening to pick them up, then leave the neighborhood. There is one use of our taxes that is almost certainly not paid for. Yes, a few of them may be tax paying in-county residents but not many iI bet and the county is not interested in pursuing these scofflaws.

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  2. On the Fairfax County assessment website, Residential assessments have data of comparables (e.g., neighborhood sales) - Commercial properties don't (like sales of surrounding comparables to apartments like condos) - not even data regarding rents and occupancy rates. Seems like the county is sticking it to the homeowners. The tax assessment on my land and house went up 11% this year and the tax assessment on the apartment complex I lived in 20 years ago dropped over 5%.

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    1. That's because the house you live in is more valuable than last year (appreciation in the market is faster than general wear-and-tear), while the apartment complex is less valuable than it was last year (general wear-and-tear is faster than appreciation). Doesn't make intuitive sense, but it's true. There is a MUCH more robust market for SFH's -- millions of potential buyers -- than there is for large apartment complexes -- really just a handful of buyers.

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  3. After an overall increase in the property assessed values in the entire county of over 6%, which allowed the schools to have an increase of over 2% -- the politicians have decided that is not enough. The economy is in shambles, federal workers have gotten one 1% pay raise in 4 years and unemployment is over 6%. So the supervisors first thought is "Let's try to get some more money out of homeowners?" Vote them out if they do not understand.

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    1. Been against P.Gross since her first election. Unfortunately, my neighborhood (demographic) supports her more and more every year. My neighborhood also becomes more trashy every year.

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  4. Why doesnt the County do what was done when we had a bustling argricultural econcomy: A PIG tax. We have allot of pigs in this County. This would be a sure way to reduce the numbers of pigs feeding at the trough.

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  5. I vote to dismantle/eliminate/do away with the Board of Supervisors in total. Trim the fat!

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  6. Those here illegally do not even pay for the VA DL or their VA Car Tax. I see more Maryland tags parked in our neighborhood more than ever before. Maryland does not check your status prior to issueing licenses or letting you register your car. Why does the County not enforce the laws we already have on the books? I agree about voting our P.Gross and do not forget Sharon Bulova. They both are the first two that need to go.

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