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Votes

Board Advertises Higher Tax Rate

Rate gives board flexibility, options in determining final budget.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted 8-2 Tuesday to advertise a higher real estate tax rate that could add about $100 to annual tax bills, which will be on top of the $332 county homeowners will see this year as a result of higher real estate assessments.

Setting the advertised tax rate formally begins the two-month public process to adopt the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and the rate represents the maximum potential tax rate for FY2015.

"Advertising a higher rate sets an upper threshold as budget decisions are considered," said Board Chairman Sharon Bulova (D-at-large).

"Our action today does not mean that the advertised rate is necessarily what will be adopted in April when the board ‘marks up’ and formally adopts the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget," Bulova said, adding that the higher rate gives the board some flexibility "so that debate and discussion is not cut off at the very beginning of the budget process."

According to the County Executive’s proposed budget, one penny of the tax rate is equal to roughly $21.9 million in general fund revenue and $50 for the average Fairfax County residential tax bill.

"This year, the board must take into account that property owners are seeing an average increase of $330 in property tax assessments due to a recovery in the housing market," Bulova said.

"When we adopt the budget, the Board of Supervisors will be challenged with funding essential services such as our top-tier school system and keeping taxes affordable for residents."

A public hearing on the effective tax rate will be held on Tuesday, April 8 at 3 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium.

In addition, public hearings on the proposed FY 2015 Budget, the advertised capital improvement plan (CIP) and the proposed tax rate are Tuesday, April 8, at 6 p.m.; Wednesday, April 9, at 3 p.m.; and Thursday, April 10, at 3 p.m.

Those wishing to speak at a public hearing can sign up online to place their name on the speakers list, or contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board at 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903.

The public hearings will be held in the Board Auditorium, Fairfax County Government Center, and will be televised live on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.

Town hall meetings are being held throughout the county to give residents the opportunity to ask questions and provide input. The Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings April 8, 9, and 10, and will formally adopt a budget on April 29.

For information on public hearings, town halls, and opportunities to participate in the budget process, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb. Residents may also provide feedback and comments on the proposed budget through mid-April at dmbinfo@fairfaxcounty.gov.