The county board’s budget, approved Saturday April 20, increased the real estate tax rate by 3.5 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value. The increased cost will require the average homeowner to pay $276 more for fiscal year 2014 over the current year.
The board had advertised a rate of $1.021 per $100 of assessed value, a five-cent increase over last year. The board legally was not allowed to move the tax rate higher than the advertised rate. Although the adopted rate of $1.006 is lower than the advertised rate, the adopted budget is still about $20 million higher than the manager had proposed in February.
“We heard from Arlingtonians that they want to preserve key services, restore proposed cuts to our police and fire departments and inspections of child care facilities; care for those most in need; do what it takes to keep our schools among the nation’s best, and increase our investments in affordable housing and capital maintenance,” said County Board Chairman Walter Tejada . “This budget builds on the Board’s direction to the Manager to sustain vital services while building for the future.”
The board returned funding to day care inspections, after a baby’s death in March highlighted the lack of oversight in Virginia. They restored funding to first response departments such as police and fire, both of which received cuts under the manager’s budget. Manager Barbara Donnellan said she made cuts to every department when she proposed the budget in February.
Arlington Public Schools will receive $415.7 million from the county. (The total budget for schools including state and federal aid and other revenue will top $500 million. The school board last week approved a proposed budget of $523 million.) The school board had asked for a half-cent increase over the manager's proposed budget to cover costs associated with increased enrollment. According to the county, this has been fully-funded.
According to the press release, instead of the proposed $9.5 million for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, the board will supply another $3 million in one-time funding, meaning if the board wants to keep the number at $12.5 million after this year, they will have to vote on it again.
- Nature Center Hours and Natural Resource Specialist ($124,910)
- Funding for Teen & Youth Programs, including Woodbury Park Teen Club ($83,930)
- Some funding for STAR [an accessible taxicab service] to delay co-payment increase ($22,453)
- Supported Employment and Education (restored $50,000 and added $66,000)
- Funding for tree planting and watering ($62,804)
- Funding to combat invasive plants ($100,000 in one-time funds)
According to the press release, there will be no increases in personal property or business tangible property taxes, and no increases in business and professional occupational licenses, water-sewer fee, dedicated storm water tax, or commercial transportation tax rates. The household solid waste rate will drop slightly.
Fiscal year 2014 begins July 1.