Arlington, VA

Despite County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s recommendation that the property tax rate be held steady, the county board voted last night to give itself the flexibility to raise the rate by a penny, if need be.

The board will now be able to set the FY 2012 property tax rate at or below 96.8 cents per $100 in assessed value. The current rate — the rate that Donnellan recommended in her proposed budget — is 95.8 cents per $100.

Last year, when the board set the property tax rate at 1.6 cents above Donnellan’s recommended figure, the advertised rate was 96.5 cents.

The county will hold two public hearings about the FY 2012 budget next month. The first, on the budget itself, will be held on March 22. The second, which will be about the tax rate and fees, will be held on March 24. Both meetings will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the county board room.

“Now that the County Manager has presented her proposal, in the next six weeks we will hear more from the public, and weigh the needs of the community,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “Our goal is to deliver a sustainable, balanced budget in April that spends tax dollars wisely, delivers core services efficiently and makes intelligent investments in the future.”

The county’s press release also laid out proposed changes to various fees.

According to the county: “The Board also voted to advertise proposed fee changes including: an increase in the water/sewer rate; a decrease in the residential solid waste fee; an increase in parking meter rates; and fee increases in several parks and recreation areas such as preschool, summer camps, senior adult registration, facility rentals, farmers’ markets, and community gardens.”

The final county budget and tax rate will be adopted in April.

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