The seemingly long journey has ended, for now.
The Board of Supervisors, in a series of votes Tuesday, adopted the $1.35 billion budget for fiscal 2022, which starts July 1, and set tax rates for the new year. The spending plan comes with a $1.02 billion six-year Capital Improvement Program, with $224.8 million designated for the upcoming fiscal year.
The spending plan comes with a reduction in the real estate tax rate – although bills will rise – an increase to a tax primarily paid by data centers and a new levy on cigarettes.
The board had several separate votes, mostly on party lines, to set tax rates and approve proposed spending. Democratic Supervisors Ann Wheeler (At-Large), Margaret Franklin (Woodbridge), Andrea Bailey (Potomac), Kenny Boddye (Occoquan) and Victor Angry (Neabsco) were in the majority on the split votes. Republican Supervisors Yesli Vega (Coles), Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville) and Pete Candland cast opposing votes.
Supervisors provided little to no comment prior to their votes.
Supervisors voted 5-3 to reduce the real estate tax rate one cent to $1.115 per $100 of assessed value. Homeowners will see an average increase to their bill of about $264 as property values have risen.
Vega and Lawson showed support for the one-cent reduction in a series of nonbinding votes last week. Lawson thanked supervisors for reducing the rate, but said it wasn’t enough to gain her full support.
The board voted 5-3 to increase the business tangible computer and peripheral tax to $1.50 per $100 of value and 5-3 to institute a new 40-cent per pack tax on cigarettes.
Supervisors discussed their intention to hold a work session and adopt a nonbinding resolution setting out the county’s plans to gradually raise the tax rate paid by the data centers. The resolution is expected to come before the board at it’s next meeting, while a work session would be later in the year.
One change from last week’s discussion was to support a request from the Sheriff’s Office for 90 body-worn cameras, five spares and 45 Tasers. The money provides a new deputy position to review and redact data and coordinate requests for video.
Next, the county will get a reprieve for a few months before starting the process all over again in the fall for fiscal 2023.