Primary reporting for this article was provided by Barry Skidmore of People Powered Arlington.
Property taxes are going up, and on Saturday residents got a preview of just how high rates may go.
Arlington’s advertised property tax rate has been set at 96.5 cents per $100 in assessed value, a nine cent increase from last year. The Arlington County Board unanimously approved the rate during a budget meeting Saturday morning.
The advertised rate represents the highest rate the county can decide to tax for the 2011 fiscal year, which actually begins on June 1, 2010. The FY 2011 tax rate will be set by the board in April.
Although Acting County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed a tax rate of 94.2 cents – a 6.7 cent increase – board members said the higher advertised rate will give the county flexibility to meet unexpected budget shortfalls. The county is currently facing a $65 million deficit for FY 2011.
“This rate provides us the flexibility we need to address the unknowns presented since our budget guidance was provided in the fall – primarily the uncertain state budget cuts and Metro demands that we may face,” said Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette.
“I have worked on a lot of these [budgets]” added board member Christopher Zimmerman. “I don’t think I have ever seen this degree of uncertainty.”