Citing the hardships caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Arlington County, Virginia, board voted Saturday to not advertise an increase in the base real estate property tax rate for 2021.
However, residents may still need to pay more, as the board approved advertising a proposed stormwater tax rate hike.
The board elected not to fight for an increase in the property tax, keeping it at $1.013 per $100 of its assessed value for this calendar year. In a news release, Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said the pandemic “has been hard” on residents and businesses.
“The Board believes what we need now is a continued focus on responding to COVID and a budget that meets the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community,” de Ferranti said.
Instead, the Board agreed to advertise a proposed stormwater tax rate of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed real property value, increasing from 1.3 cents.
The extra funds will help pay for bonds to fund “much-needed” stormwater projects in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, which residents approved in November’s election. The tax hike, de Ferranti said, is the best way to pay for the bonds to complete the projects and improve the county’s infrastructure.
“Arlington has seen the damage that flooding can cause,” de Ferranti said. “The Board recognizes that we must act to improve resiliency.”
Some of the stormwater improvement projects are at Walter Reed Elementary School, Spout Run, Lubber Run, Ballston Pond, Four Mile Run and the Dumbarton culverts.
If approved, the tax increase would generate $1.6 million for the county’s Stormwater Fund for fiscal year 2021 and $3.2 million in 2022, de Ferranti said. According to the news release, the increase would also become the first stormwater tax increase in a decade, if approved.
It may not be the last time the county considers a stormwater tax increase. In its budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 from February, the board included an increase in the stormwater tax rate that would cost a homeowner an additional $29 in 2022.
The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed stormwater tax hike at 7 p.m. April 8. Those wishing to speak must register on the board’s website starting on April 1.
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