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Prince William Supervisors Tax Proposal Exceeds County Executive’s Budget Requests

The property tax increases could cost the average homeowner in the county an additional $20 per month.

County Executive Proposes Budget and Board Determines Advertised Tax Rate

By Prince William County Government with addendum by Bristow Beat 

The FY21 Proposed Budget

The County Executive presented the Fiscal Year 2021 Proposed Budget to the Board of County Supervisors this week. The proposed budget advances the board’s strategic plan priorities, maintains the county and school system’s revenue sharing agreement, caps ongoing operating expenditure growth at 3.5 percent, and funds the second phase of the county’s classification and compensation study.

The proposed budget also includes funding for the state-mandated Children’s Services Act, in which the county must provide education for children with special needs, and mandated contributions to the Virginia Retirement System. The two mandates together will cost the county an additional $9.0 million.

In addition, the proposed budget provides nearly $646 million in funding to the school system, which is nearly 6.5 percent more than provided to the schools last fiscal year. This maintains the revenue sharing agreement between the county and the schools where the county transfers 57.23 percent of general revenue to the school system.

With regards to the board’s strategic goals, the County Executive proposed additional funding for economic development programs to help with the robust economy goal. To help achieve the mobility goal, the proposed budget includes subsidies for PRTC and VRE, as well as funding for the design phase for three of the mobility referendum projects – Devlin Road Widening, the Minnieville Road-Prince William Parkway interchange and the Old Bridge Road-Route 123 interchange. These design costs will be covered through the funding received from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

The proposed funding for the police and sheriff staffing plans, as well as a fire engine staffing for Station 22, helps advance the board’s safe and secure community goal. Proposed funding for the wellbeing goal includes a 3 percent increase for all of the county’s community partners.

Also included in the proposed budget is funding for elections including the 2020 presidential election, increased contractual and operating expenses, field maintenance, security measures for county facilities, and employee compensation.

The Advertised Tax Rate

As part of the budget process, the Board of County Supervisors must advertise tax rates to the public. The advertised rates provide the parameters as to what funds may be available as the board deliberates on the budget. The board can ultimately adopt a lower rate than the advertised rate, but they cannot adopt a higher rate.

The advertised real estate tax rate of $1.17 per $100 of assessed value the board voted on was 2.5 cents higher than the $1.145 proposed by the County Executive. Every penny added to the proposed $1.145 tax rate raises an additional $6.5 million in county tax revenues. At a rate of $1.145, the average real estate bill would be $4,432 annually, an increase of $242 which would raise the average house payment by about $20 each month. The current real estate tax rate is $1.125.

The board also voted to advertise a $33 motor vehicle licensing fee; the current fee is $24. Additionally, the board advertised a motorcycle licensing fee of $20; the current fee is $12. Those proposed increases would bring in an additional $3.5 million in county revenue.

The proposed budget includes a $.05 increase in business tangible personal property taxes for computer and peripheral equipment, to bring it to $1.30 per $100 of assessed value. The board’s advertised rate for computer and peripheral equipment is $1.35. The board also advertised a $3.70 personal property tax rate on boats and trailers.

The county’s fire levy would remain at $.08 per $100 of assessed value.

Chair Ann Wheeler indicated that an increased tax rate would allow the county the opportunity to begin to address the unfunded requests from the schools, as well as those that were provided as part of the County Executive’s presentation.

There are a number of steps to complete before the board adopts its final budget. The board is scheduled to receive public input and hold work sessions and public hearings through the end of April.

  • On Saturday, Feb. 22, a community meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, where the county’s Management and Budget Director will review the Proposed Capital Improvements Program, or CIP, and the proposed budget.
  • On Wednesday, March 4, there will be a Planning Commission CIP work session at 6 p.m., where the planning commissioners will receive the proposed CIP.
  • On March 10 and 17, the supervisors will hold budget work sessions during their 2 p.m. meetings, which will cover specific areas of the proposed budget and/or CIP.
  • On March 31, the Prince William County School Board will present its proposed budget to the Board of County Supervisors during the county board’s 7:30 p.m. meeting.
  • On April 14, there will be a recap on the proposed budget during the board’s 2 p.m. meeting. There will then be a public hearing on the proposed budget at the 7:30 p.m. meeting.
  • On April 16, the board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget during their 7:30 p.m. meeting.
  • On April 21, during the budget mark-up session at 7:30 p.m., the supervisors will determine any final changes they would like to make to the budget.
  • The budget is scheduled to be adopted on April 28 during the board’s 7:30 p.m. meeting.

All meetings will be held in the Board Chamber at the McCoart Administration Building, 1 County Complex Court, in Woodbridge, with the exception of the Planning Commission meeting, which will be held in the Potomac Conference Room of the McCoart Building.

Information about the proposed budget can be found at, along with the complete proposed budget document.

Republicans Push Back Against Tax Rate

By Stacy Shaw 

Candland posted this message on his supervisor Facebook page, lambasting proposed tax increases as per the advertised tax rate.

Although the advertised tax rate passed the board, it was opposed by Republican Supervisors Pete Candland of Gainesville, and Yesli Vega of the Coles District. (Supervisor Jeanine Lawson of Brentsville was not in attendance.)

Candland described it as the largest tax increase in Prince William history, which could “crush the taxpayers of Prince William County.” He also commented that he though there was a “lack of transparency,” saying the Chair did not give the citizens an opportunity to weigh in.

“This is my face as I listened to one of the largest potential tax increases in Prince William County’s history…” said Vega on her Facebook page (photo below.)

“Prince William County homeowners already pay the highest real estate tax rate of any county in all of Northern Virginia. I campaigned to lower this rate, not increase it.”

(Although tax rates are higher many homeowners in other counties pay more due to higher real estate costs.)

Yesli Vega shares a photo of her shocked face when hearing the tax proposal the Democrats on the board are recommending.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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