Dumfries considers tax abatement

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Under a new proposal, Dumfries residents could get a welcome break on their real estate tax bills come June.

Town Manager Keith Rogers Jr. is proposing to wipe out the second installment of town real estate tax bills in conjunction with his budget plan for fiscal 2023, which starts July 1.

The proposal would amend the section of town code that allows the Town Council to set tax rates. It would allow the Town Council to abate one tax installment each year.

The proposal comes along with a subsequent vote to abate the second tax bill of 2022.

Mayor Derrick Wood said eliminating the second tax bill would provide relief to residents hit hard by record inflation and surging gas prices.

A resident who owns a home valued at $224,700 would save $213.35 in taxes with the abatement.

Rogers’ proposal is being presented with his $7.2 million spending plan for fiscal 2023, although the relief would impact the current budget. The fiscal 2023 plan is a 22% increase over the $5.8 million fiscal 2022 budget.

Real estate tax revenue accounts for about $1.3 million, or 18%, of the proposed budget.

The town’s revenue has been boosted by a gaming tax and is approaching twice the fiscal 2019 revenue of $4.6 million. Next year, revenue is expected to nearly triple and reach $20 million with the opening of The Rose gaming resort.

The proposal keeps the town’s real estate tax rate flat at 18.99 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is charged on top of Prince William County’s levy.

The county is proposing a decrease in its tax rate from $1.115 per $100 of assessed value to $1.05. Still, while the rate is dropping, rising property values will result in an effective tax increase. The average residential tax bill from the county would increase $233, or 4.9%, on a home valued at $466,739.

The budget also eliminates the $24 vehicle license fee, which is collected on all vehicles stored in the town limits.

The budget provides an 8% across-the-board pay raise for town employees and adds five police officers, two new finance employees and creates a new office to lead engagement with town residents.

The only new capital project in the budget would create a stormwater infrastructure map, which will help assessments and maintenance operations. It is estimated to cost $75,000.

The budget proposal was presented to the Town Council on Tuesday. A community forum is planned for April 14, and a public hearing and vote is expected by April 26.

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