Fairfax County budget proposal includes tax bill increases, increased schools funding

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill has presented his proposed fiscal year 2024 budget, which includes a steady real estate tax rate, increased funds for Fairfax County public schools, and a market rate adjustment for county employees’ pay. The budget increased by $280 million from the previous year’s budget.

In his opening remarks, Hill highlighted the effect inflation has had on the proposed budget.

“What we are seeing across the board is that it’s costing us more and more to sustain this quarter thanks to a tight labor market and high inflationary environment,”

Although the $5.1 billion budget proposal calls for the real estate tax rate to remain the same as last year, $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, homeowners will still see increased taxes considering increased real estate assessments.

“The revenue projections in the budget are based on the existing real estate tax rate of $1.11, which would result in an increase to an average homeowner of just under $520,” Hill said.

In a release, Chairman Jeffrey McKay said the board has the flexibility to consider lowering the real estate tax rate. Last year, the board approved a 3-cent reduction, from $1.14 to $1.11, after residents pushed for a decrease during the public comment period. In addition, the budget contains $90 million that McKay said the board could “probably most likely use for tax relief.”

“I will certainly be strongly supporting residential real estate tax relief because that’s a hefty increase on top of last year’s, and affordability is still a challenge,” McKay said after the presentation.

He also pointed to the 130,000 job vacancy rate in the county as another reason to consider a lower tax rate.

“And the number one reason most of those jobs aren’t full is because people can’t afford to live here, and so this is something I know our board’s acutely aware of and certainly something that we’re going to have to address with his budget.”

Although data from National Automobile Dealers Association indicates a decline in used car values from the previous year, Hill said they would continue to monitor and evaluate trends before making a final recommendation on personal property tax rate before the budget adoption.

The budget proposal includes funds for a two percent market rate adjustment for county employees as officials continue their efforts in attracting and retaining employees. McKay said it also provides performance, merit, and longevity increases, making the total range four to seven percent.

“There continue to be nationwide challenges in retaining and recruiting critical positions like health care workers and police officers, and Fairfax County is not immune,” he said.

Hill mirrored McKay’s comments saying that employee compensation was the primary focus of the budget.

“It is imperative that we continue to support our finest asset by focusing on pay as part of this budget.”

For the 13th consecutive year, the county executive proposed increasing the funds transferred to the county’s public school system–this year by $144 million.

“This would fully fund the budget proposal we received from FCPS and allow schools to also address employee compensation,” McKay said.

The board will hold public hearings on the proposed budget April 11-13, with the final approval expected for May 9.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.


More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up