Fairfax County board approves tax increase

More taxes on the way

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 3:12 am

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Andrew Mollenbeck and Amanda Iacone, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — The tax bill for the average homeowner in Fairfax County will climb several hundred dollars in the coming year because of rising assessments and a tax rate increase.

The Board of Supervisors approved a half-cent tax rate increase as part of a budget outline Tuesday. Taxpayers with an average home worth $498,000 can expect to pay about $25 more per year.

The tax rate increase, which kicks in July 1, is expected to generate an extra $10.9 million, all of which is slated for the county school system.

Rising residential assessments, thanks to a recovering housing market, is the primary driver of rising tax bills. On average, that works out to a $332 increase, according to the county.

Put together, the average homeowner could see a bill that’s $355 higher.

Board Chair Sharon Bulova released a statement calling this year’s budget process “very challenging.”

She says the student population at public schools is growing, the country has expanding needs for human services, and county employees have gone five years without significant raises.

Workers can expect to see a 2.2 percent pay increase under the budget deal.

Board meets schools half way

The board agreed to give the county school system a 3 percent increase, worth $51 million, over the current budget.

In comparison, the school board had requested $97 million in new funding. Another $30 million in possible state funds could further reduce a budget gap, according to Bulova’s office.

However the Virginia General Assembly has yet to agree on a state budget because of a fight over whether to expand Medicaid. And localities don’t yet know how much state support to expect.

The board is expected to formally adopt the county’s $3.7 billion budget next Tuesday.

Looking ahead

Bulova also announced the creation of a new task force to examine whether the county should adopt a meals tax, which would bring in more revenue for the county and diversfiy the tax base. She hopes to have a report from the task force in June.

A 4 percent tax would generate $88 million, according to Bulova.

County voters would have the final say whether to approve the tax. Two decades ago, voters rejected such a plan.

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