Supervisors Formally Adopt 2015 Budget Featuring Higher Real Estate Tax

Fairfax County/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe average Fairfax County homeowner will pay more than $300 more in taxes next year after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors formally adopted the Fiscal Year 2015 budget on Tuesday.

The budget includes a real estate tax rate of $1.090 per $100 of assessed value, a half-cent increase from the FY 2014 $1.085 rate.

The $3.72 billion General Fund budget is an increase of 3.62 percent over the FY 2014 Adopted Budget Plan. The total of all appropriated funds is $6.97 billion, which includes the general fund as well as other appropriated funds such as grants, and solid waste and sewer funds, county supervisors said.

The increase in the real estate tax rate was voted on by the supervisors last week. The vote passed 7-3. Supervisors Pat Herrity (Springfield) , Linda Smyth (Providence), and John Cook (Braddock) voted against the rate. Yesterday’s budget vote was also 7-3, with the same supervisors voting no.

County Supervisor Sharon Bulova said the increase was necessary as Fairfax County, like many places in the country, continues to recover from the recession.

The increase will provide an additional $10.9 million for the county and will mean an additional $25 annually in average tax, she said. However, rising assessment values also mean homeowners will pay about $330 more annually as well.

“In total, along with the FY 2015 increased based on equalization, the average annual tax bill for county homeowners increases by approximately $357,” said Bulova.

“Our nation, region, and county continue to struggle during these sluggish post-recession years. The good news this year is that real estate values are beginning to rebound. The bad news is that only residential values are rising; business taxes are flat and commercial assessments are a decrease from Fiscal Year 2014.”

The additional tax revenue ($10.9 million) combined with $6 million in savings achieved on the general county side of the budget will be used to increase the transfer to Fairfax County Public Schools by $17 million (3 percent), the supervisors said.

The school board had requested a 5.7 percent increase (to $98 million) in February. It will get $51 million from the county. Superintendent Karen Garza has said there may be staffing cuts and other cost-cutting measures. 

The county will be able to increase compensation for employees and offer step raises to public safety officers without drawing on reserves and creating a further imbalance. However, the budget reduces funding for some public services and the public libraries.

See the entire budget on the Fairfax County website.

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