PW BOCS Passes Advertised Tax Rate; Brentsville, Gainesville Supervisors Oppose Plan

| February 19, 2013 | 0 Comments | News

Supervisors vote on the FY14 advertised tax rate at the Feb. 19 Board of County Supervisors meeting. (L-R Martin Nohe, Maureen Caddigan, Corey Stewart, Peter Candland)

The Board of County Supervisors passed an advertised tax rate of 1.196 percent for $100 of estimated home value for Fiscal Year (FY) 14 at their Feb. 19 meeting, despite opposition from Supervisors Wally Covington (R-Brentsville), Peter Candland (R-Gainesville) and Chairman (At-large) Corey Stewart (R).

The 1.196 average tax rate passed by a 5:3 vote towards the end of the session. Supervisors Martin Nohe (R-Coles), Maureen Caddigan (R-Potomac), Michael May (R-Occoquan) John Jenkins (D-Neabsco) and Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge) voted in support of the tax rate.

Should the rate be adopted, it would amount 3.53 percent increase in the average tax bill from FY13 to FY14, and according to state guidelines, the advertised tax rate can always be reduced, but cannot be increased.

County Executive Melissa Peacor reminded the Board and citizens the 4 percent increase her office recommended in its presentation last week still amounts to, “a reduction in the tax rate from FY13 to FY14.”

Since property values have increased over the past year, keeping the tax rate consistent would mean increased tax bills for the great majority of home owners; thus the supervisors have focused their attention on the average tax bill. Through looking at the average tax bill, they have been able to more accurately assess how taxes would affect most home owners in the county.

Earlier in the meeting, several other proposed advertised tax rates failed to win majority approval from the Board.

Right before the Board voted on 1.196 percent advertised tax rate, a 3.5 increase in the tax bill failed by one vote.  Jenkins voted against this tax rate. Otherwise the vote was split along similar lines as the advertised rate, which passed.

Jenkins offered the first proposal of the meeting of an advertised tax rate of 1.201 percent. That tax rate is consistent with the 4 percent increase in the average tax bill as presented by Peacor’s office on Feb 12. That proposal received approval from Caddigan, Nohe, Principi, plus Jenkin’s own vote.

After that proposal divided the Board evenly, Supervisor Nohe proposed an advertised tax rate corresponding to an increase of 3.5 in the average tax bill. Although that proposal seemed more likely to garner support , its vote was delayed until the county staff could retrieve the correlating tax rate percentage.

Nohe explained he made the proposal to expedite the process, noting that five years ago the Board took 17 votes before deciding on an advertised tax rate, which Nohe likened to “Kabuki theater.”

However, the Supervisors recognized there was little time for such political maneuvering, since recent Commonwealth regulations require jurisdictions to advertise their tax rates sooner as to allow more time for the communities to respond.

Nohe and May also made a distinction between the advertised tax rate they were willing to approve and the actual adopted tax rate. Both seemed eager to pass advertised tax rate and begin a community discussion.

While waiting to obtain that tax rate, Supervisor May proposed an alternative advertised tax rate of 1.189 percent. His proposal was approved by Caddigan, Nohe, Principi and May. However, Jenkins, Stewart, Covington and Candland opposed it.

Supervisor Peter Candland of the Gainesville District proposed a flat tax bill of 1.154, but that also failed to garner enough support. Only Supervisor Covington, Stewart and Candland voted for it.

Thus, the approved advertise tax rate of 1.196 percent, appeared to be a comprise, winning support from both Republicans and Democrats. However it failed to garner the support of the more but not conservative voting Republicans on the western end of the county. As it is only the advertised tax rates, after discussions over the next few months, the Board could still decide to adopt a lower tax rate.

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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