Fairfax County budget markup reduces tax rate, hikes employee pay

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Two weeks before they are scheduled to adopt the county’s fiscal year 2023 budget, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package that reduces the real estate tax rate and adds millions for affordable housing and an additional pay step for county employees.

The board approved a 3-cent real estate tax rate reduction, from $1.14 to $1.11 per $100 of assessed value. Initially, County Executive Bryan Hill proposed holding the county’s tax rate steady at $1.14 per $100 assessed valuation, which would have set back the average homeowner by $666. Many residents pushed for the decrease during public hearings.

In a release, Chairman Jeffrey McKay said the budget is about balance.

“As residents and homeowners in Fairfax County ourselves, the board is very aware of the impact of a tax increase and worked diligently to mitigate the effect of the significant real estate assessment increases.”

For the first time in Fairfax County, the board approved a 15% reduction in personal property assessment. The change was made to cap increases as the value of used vehicles reached unprecedented highs during the pandemic.

“We are ensuring the County makes smart financial decisions to support services for our residents while being mindful of soaring residential assessments and the financial strain so many are facing in our community,” McKay said.

The advertised budget introduced in February also included a 4.01% percent market rate adjustment for all county employees, with the amended package adding a pay step for uniformed public safety positions in an effort to recruit and retain employees. According to the board, eligible public safety employees will receive an additional boost, which could amount to a 14% pay bump when combined with longevity increases.

Acknowledging its increased goal of 10,000 affordable units by 2034, the board also included another $10 million for affordable housing— another issue residents advocated for during public hearings.

“One thing we learned from the past two years is that we are all in this together, and the more we collaborate, cooperate and look out for each other, the better off we all are. The county is a partner in this process, and this budget proves that,” McKay said.

The board voted 9-1 to approve the markup package. A vote on the final budget is scheduled for May 10.

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