Stewart Believes Advertised Tax Rate Can Fund County Priorities

| February 26, 2014 | 1 Comment | News

Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor Peter Candland.

Chairman Corey Stewart (R) , who spoke with Bristow Beat after the Prince William Board of County Supervisor’s meeting Tuesday evening, said he was hopeful that he could hold the tax rate at where it needs to be.

“1.155 was too tight; 1.158 is where it needs to be,” Stewart said.

While the 1.158 advertised tax rate may be reduced in April (though legally, it cannot be increased), Stewart wants to push for it to be held steady, thinking that if the tax rate is reduced any further, spending priorities might not be able to be met.

He believes the current advertised tax rate could provide enough funds for schools to reduce class sizes, help fund more staffing for both fire & rescue and police; and he intends to issue the bond referendum from 2006, ballparks in the county could be improved as well.

Even though it is not a popular issue, he also knows that the county will need to address the overcrowed jail it shares with the City of Manassas, because to not do so would ultimately cost the county more money through renting beds in other jails.

Stewarts said if more cut backs have to be made, he would look towards the new libraries in Gainesville and Montclair.

“It’s going to be very, very tight [should supervisors reduce the tax rate even further],” Stewart said. “We may need to move some things around, and something’s going to have to be cut. Top of the list are the libraries.”

Stewart said the operating costs for the new libraries per year are $9 million alone. Additionally, more people are moving to reading books on their handheld devices, so he questions if the new libraries are still priorities for the communities.

The chairman said he would rather have those funds go directly to schools to help in decreasing class sizes, but thinks that maybe everything can be accomplished if other supervisors would agree to hold the tax rate.

“Hopefully, we can do everything [that’s a priority] at 1.158,” he said.

Should he cancel or postpone the libraries from the CIP [Capital Improvement Plan] he is likely to get some pushback from Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland.

In a conversation with Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland (R) Monday, he said the people of Gainesville are tired of “those kind of threats” that they will not get their libraries or their parks should he push for lower taxes.

For his part, Candland believes more can be done with a lower tax rate than the one Stewart is proposing. Further, at Tuesday’s board meeting, he referred to Stewart’s use of funds to bury power lines along Route 1 at a cost of $11 million of an example of the chairman not setting priorities as that money could have been used to reduce class sizes.

Supervisor Mareen Caddigan (R) of the Potomac District will likely fight for her Montclair library as well. When Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi (D) suggested the libraries should not have been included in the county executive’s budget, Caddigan said that other districts have had their projects, and it is time that the people of Monclair to get their library.

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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  1. epage20169 says:

    From Corey Stewart to me 2 days ago: ” The rate that the Board ultimately adopts cannot be higher and is invariably much lower than the advertised rate.

    Supervisor Candland knows this, and his email to you is misleading.”

    How can we trust him when he says one thing to the public and another to the press?

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