Fairfax Co. OKs 1-cent cut in tax rate, but rising assessments will drive up tax bills

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 on a budget plan that includes a 1-cent decrease in the real estate tax rate, but rising property values will result in bigger tax bills later this year in the Virginia county..

Fairfax County Board Chairman Jeff McKay said the 2022 budget plan strikes a balance in a difficult budget year, providing more money to public schools, including a teacher pay raise and a 1% pay raise for county employees.

But McKay also acknowledged that increasing property values have sparked sharp rises in real estate tax assessments, which will mean higher tax bills.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, the lone vote against the budget plan, estimated that average homeowners’ tax bills will rise about 3.5%.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic; our homeowners are struggling; and I don’t think we should be putting a 3.5% tax increase on top of them,” Herrity said, contending that homeowners with properties at the lower end of valuations will be hit the hardest.

“The lower the value of the homes, those are the ones that have gone up even more than 3.5%, so they’re going to have an even more significant burden,” Herrity said.

The budget plan also includes stepped up spending for affordable housing and environmental and energy programs.

McKay said some residents have lost income during the pandemic and the budget, along with federal aid, will provide resources and services, especially for the most vulnerable.

Following the vote, Fairfax County School Board Member Karl Frisch thanked the supervisors in a statement for including the increase in teacher and school staff pay.

“Time and again, our educators, custodians, bus drivers, food service workers, and other school staff have met the challenges presented by the pandemic head-on,” said Frisch. “This pay raise is not only a demonstration of our gratitude for their tireless dedication, it is also an investment in the future of Fairfax County Public Schools.”

The final budget plan, which typically doesn’t change, will be voted on next Tuesday.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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