Real Estate Tax Rate ‘Ceiling’

Real Estate Tax Rate ‘Ceiling’

Lower tax rate expected, but homeowners will still pay more.

Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay recommended advertising a $1.14 advertised real estate tax rate per $100 of assessed value, “which reflects no change from the current real estate tax rate and is consistent with the County Executive’s proposed budget.”

“We are advertising a ceiling here, not the actual tax rate,” said McKay, at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. 

Keeping the same tax rate would result in an increase of more than $600 for the average Fairfax County homeowner because of rising real estate values and assessments.

“As I have said repeatedly, I expect and I will only be voting for and supporting a budget that is a lower tax rate than this,” he said.

The Board will adopt a budget, with the year’s actual tax rate, in approximately two months.

“This is a floor, we cannot increase it above this rate, but we can decrease it to any amount,” said McKay. 

“I want to make it clear to the public that I in no way shape or form intend to support a budget at this rate, but this does give us the flexibility should anything occur between now and then,” he said.

McKay and Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn iterated the uncertainty of the world, replete with the pandemic, war, and economic uncertainty, making it prudent to leave open the ability to deal with the unexpected.

“Given the situation in the world and the economy, I think it’s prudent, but I would just remind us that as we talk about these really critical compensation issues, we have to remember that they have to be paid for,” said Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter L. Alcorn. “I too will be looking at the tax rate and tax relief this year.”

“It’s the fiscal responsible thing to do with what is going on in the world today, what we’ve been through certainly over the last two years, the uncertainty of our economy, world affairs, inflation, all the other things that are affecting us,” said McKay.

County officials have been holding public meetings to explain the budget and gather public input. See sidebar for upcoming meetings.

The Board of Supervisors will hold budget policy committee meetings on March 15, 2022 and March 29, 2022, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The Board will hold public hearings on the budget on April 12-14, 2022. 

The budget markup will be on April 26, 2022 and the board will adopt the final budget on May 10. The School Board follows with adopting its budget on May 26, 2022.

“My intention is to see that tax rate come down a bit,” said Lee Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk, “and also on the personal property tax as well. I think both of them are going to be difficult in light of the increases that we have seen both in the values of cars and the values of homes.”

Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity, the Board’s sole Republican, was the only supervisor to reject the proposed real estate tax rate.

“For many years I have been saying that this Board’s spending is out of control and unsustainable for taxpayers as the Board, over my objection, approved new spending initiatives and used one-time funds and federal pandemic funds to pay for new positions while neglecting priorities like public safety and employee compensation,” said Herrity. “Residents cannot afford any kind of tax increase this year as we are facing record inflation, rising gas prices and an economy recovering from the pandemic.”

The challenge remains that sources of revenue are limited in Virginia, forcing localities to fund operations with property taxes alone. 

“Until the General Assembly and the Commonwealth of Virginia give us additional opportunities to diversify our revenues, we are stuck. We have been talking about diversification of revenues for well over a decade, probably two decades,” said Mason Supervisor and Vice Chair Penelope “Penny” Gross. 

Budget Timeline

April 12-14, 2022 Public Hearings at Board of Supervisors on FY 2023 

April 26, 2022 Board of Supervisors marks-up FY 2023 Budget, adopts FY 2023- FY 2027 Capital Improvement Program 

May 1, 2022 Board of Supervisors adopts FY 2023 Adopted budget

May 5, 2022 Public Hearings at School Board on FY 2023 budget

May 26, 2022 School Board adopts FY 2023 Approved Budget

July 1, 2022 FY 2023 Budget Year Begins

Upcoming Budget Town Halls