Reston, VA

The real estate tax could increase by three cents in the next fiscal year if the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepts a budget proposed by County Executive Bryan Hill.

Hill pitched the budget to the board at a meeting today (Tuesday). One cent of the proposed tax, which increases the annual tax bill by roughly $346, will be earmarked for affordable housing initiatives. The remaining two-cent increase will go toward the general fund and other board priorities.

The increase is expected to bring in nearly $80 million to the county’s coffers.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide appropriate levels of funding in these areas with no adjustments to our tax rates,” Hill wrote in a statement.

Hill is also proposing a four percent tax on tickets for movies, theater, and concerts. If approved, the tax would take effect in October. County officials say that the move could bring in $2.3 million in revenue to the county that would fund arts and tourism efforts.

The $4.6 billion budget represents a nearly four percent increase over last year’s budget. Although Fairfax County Public Schools would receive 3.7 percent more county funds than last year, Hill’s budget leaves $4 million in unmet needs for the school system.

Hill anticipates that the school system can make up the difference between what was requested and what will be allocated through expected increases in state funding this year.

At the meeting, Hill also unveiled the county’s new strategic plan, which outlines nine priority areas that will guide the county’s decision-making over the next 30 years.

Highlights of the plan are below:

Funding to expand school readiness programs like the new Early Childhood Birth to 5 Fund and a recommended $25 million bond referendum for early childhood facilities in 2020 in the Lifelong Education and Learning priority area.

Dedicating one cent of the proposed tax increase to affordable housing under Housing and Neighborhood Livability.

Body-worn cameras and staff for the new Scotts Run Fire and South County Police stations under Safety and Security.

Funding to expand environmental initiatives, Diversion First and the Opioid Task Force under the Health and Environment priority area.

Funding for expanded library hours (11 of 22 locations will move to standardized hours), scholarship assistance for parks programs and use of admissions tax revenue to increase funding for the arts under the Cultural and Recreational Opportunities priority area.

Public hearings on the budget are set for April 14-16. The board will make changes to the proposed budget on April 28, followed by adoption on May 5. 

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Make Halloween a Treat, Not a Truck — “Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls will soon be coming out all over the area. Halloween is a festive occasion that we need to celebrate safely. Traditional jack-o-lanterns with candles are a tremendous fire hazard. A better way to light up your jack-o-lantern is to use a small string of holiday lights with yellow and red flashing bulbs. Additionally, small battery-powered candles can be used.” [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]

County to Hold Hearing on Real Estate Tax Exemption — “Fairfax County currently provides income-based real estate tax relief to homeowners based on income and disability. A revision to the Virginia Code in July now allows localities to exclude the disability income of disabled relatives living in a taxpayer’s home from the total combined income calculation.”  [Tysons Reporter]

McDaniel College Names Field in Honor of Reston Couple — “McDaniel College hosted the dedication of Rembert Field at McDaniel’s Kenneth R. Gill Stadium in honor of 1961 alumnus Donald Mosby Rembert, Sr., and 1960 alumna Judith Ellis Rembert of Reston, Va. The ceremony took place during the Green Terror football game against Muhlenberg on Saturday, Oct. 26.” [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday Morning Notes

Robbery at CVS Pharmacy on Centreville Road — Police believe two suspected jumped the pharmacy counter on Thursday at the CVS on 2525 Centreville Road and took property. The suspects were described as black men with hooded sweatshirts. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Makeup Class Tomorrow at Reston Regional Library — Learn new makeup techniques in this free class presented by a local make up artists. Some makeup tools and makeup will be provided. [Fairfax County Government]

Reminder: Real Estate Taxes Due — Real Estate first installment bills are due today and second installment bills are due December 5. Payment is accepted online. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Bako Glonto/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors officially adopted the proposed FY 2019 budget at their meeting last week on May 1.

Among the highlights of the new budget include an increase in the real estate tax, and increased funding for schools, including teacher salaries.

Homeowners can expect a two-cent increase in the annual real estate tax, from the current $1.13 per $100 of assessed home value to $1.15.

Supervisors said this will result in an average increase of $241 per year for homeowners, and a revenue increase of $49.3 million for the county.

“I believe the additional revenue is an important investment needed to shore up the foundation on which our quality of life in Fairfax County rests,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said in recorded comments on the county website.

The new budget also includes increased funding for Fairfax County schools by $91.49 million, or 4.22 percent over the previous year.

“The package fully funds the school board’s request, bringing teacher salaries into competitive alignment with our sister jurisdictions in the region,” Bulova said. “Again, 52.8 percent of our general fund budget [will be] going to the schools.”

Of the additional $91.49 million, $53 million of that will be dedicated to teacher salary scale increases, according to the county website.

“It is anticipated that the FCPS FY 2019 Advertised Budget will remain fully funded, with increased state revenues,” county documents explain. “This includes projected cost increases related to updated enrollment information.”

Bulova said the increased funding will also allow for a 2.25-percent market rate adjustment for county employees, as well as allow for performance, merit and longevity increases.

The approved budget also provides funding for many early childhood education programs, gang prevention and opioid addiction intervention, as well as an increase in funding for Metro “pending a long-term solution,” she said.

The county’s “Diversion First” program will also receive funding. Diversion First offers alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low level offenses.

Other small tax and fee increases for basic services include:

  • Trash/Refuse Collection and Disposal – Annual collection fees will increase by $5, from the current $345 to $350. Annual disposal fees will increase by $2 from the current $64 to $66.
  • Sewer Fees – Annual sewer service fees will increase from $6.75 per 1,000 gallons to $7. Annual base service charges will increase from $27.62 per quarter to $30.38.
  • Stormwater Services – The district tax rate will increase from $0.0300 to $0.0325 per $100 of assessed value.

One area in which fees will decrease is the Phase I Dulles Rail Transportation Improvement district tax rate, which will go down from 15 cents to 13 cents per $100 of assessed value, thanks to a recommendation by the Phase I District Commission.

The county produced a video on its annual budget is formed and adopted for interested residents.

File Photo: Sharon Bulova

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