WASHINGTON — The average Fairfax County homeowner would experience a $268 real estate tax increase annually under the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget advertised on Tuesday.
When the board of supervisors votes on the budget in May, the real estate tax rate cannot exceed the advertised rate increase of 2.5 cents.
“That is, I feel, a pretty significant increase,” said Board Chairman Sharon Bulova, an at-large Democrat. “We will look for ways to find savings (and) efficiencies.”
Combine the proposed real estate tax rate increase with a proposed .25-cent increase in stormwater tax rates and that would amount to a 5 percent tax increase on average homeowners this year.
“Meanwhile wages are flat and we’ve got more residents leaving the county than coming to the county. We’re literally taxing them out of the county,” Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, said.
Bulova said the budget as proposed meets board and community priorities.
It fully compensates county employees, provides increases in teacher’s pay, funds programs to address the opioid health crisis, gang prevention and early childhood education.
If there’s an increase of 2.5 cents added to the tax rate of $1.155 per $100 of assessed value, Herrity said that would be higher than what homeowners are paying in surrounding jurisdictions.
“This is about priorities,” Herrity said. “You can’t increase taxes 26 percent over five years when wages aren’t keeping up with those priorities.”
Herrity said he believes, for example, that teachers need raises.
“We are out of line on teacher raises and we need to fix that, but we need to fix that by controlling costs elsewhere,” Herrity said.
There’ll be no shortage of opportunities for public input on the proposed budget. There will be town meetings throughout the county and three days of public hearings before the board at the Fairfax County Government Center on April 10, April 11 and April 12.