Join Club

County Tax Rate to Drop By a Penny

County Board members Jay Fisette and Walter Tejada at a budget presentation on Feb. 20, 2013(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) Arlington’s property tax rate will drop by a one cent in the next fiscal year.

The County Board last night directed the County Manager to reduce the tax rate in its Fiscal Year 2015 budget from $1.006 per every $100 in assessed value to $0.996.

That penny corresponds to about $6.6 million in reduced revenue for the county. However, the tax and fee burden on the average Arlington taxpayer will still rise about 4.6 percent, thanks to an increase in property assessments and increases in solid waste and water-sewer fees.

The county plans to use the additional tax revenue on a variety of projects, but much of it will go to Arlington Public Schools and to a “modest” 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment and $500 bonus for county employees.

“The Board’s action provides $432.2 million to the Schools, an increase in base funding of $19.6 million, or 4.7% more than FY 2014, the county said in a press release. “With this budget, Arlington’s support of our students now exceeds $19,000 per pupil — more than any other school district in the region.”

The Board also funded three new School Resource Officers and $8 million for school construction. Other non-school projects the Board committed to funding yesterday include $200,000 in tourism marketing, $1.6 million for the county’s high-speed fiber optic network for businesses, $52,000 for a new sexual assault hotline, $72,606 for a mental health coordinator, $700,000 for costs associated with the opening of the new year-round homeless shelter early next year, and $300,000 for plowing snow from bike trails.

“The Board had to make some tough decisions,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “In order to give some break to homeowners who have seen their assessments rise, we limited the growth of the County budget, launched no new major initiatives and focused on funding schools and maintaining our core services and existing infrastructure.”

The $200,00 for tourism came at the request of the county’s hotel businesses, which were doubly hurt by a quarter-cent drop in the Transient Occupancy Tax and the lack of business in the fall during the government shutdown.

“I’ve got to thank you for this,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the Board. “With the vacancies in the fall, I met with people in the hospitality industry and they were telling me, ‘It’s terrible, we’re going to have to lay people off.'”

At the end of the meeting, new Board member John Vihstadt made a motion to halt all funding that would directly or indirectly go to funding the planned streetcar network along Columbia Pike and in Crystal City for 2014 and 2015. The measure failed 2-3, with Vihstadt joined by Libby Garvey in voting for the motion.

The County Board will officially vote on the budget on Tuesday. The county’s press release on the budget decisions, after the jump.

The Arlington County Board today directed the County Manager to reduce the real estate tax rate by one cent in the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. The Board’s action came during the mark-up for the budget, which the Board is set to adopt during its April 22 meeting.

“The Board had to make some tough decisions,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “In order to give some break to homeowners who have seen their assessments rise, we limited the growth of the County budget, launched no new major initiatives and focused on funding schools and maintaining our core services and existing infrastructure.”

The budget mark-up includes a real estate tax rate of $0.996 per $100 of assessed value, a one-cent decrease from the $1.006 rate in Calendar Year 2013 (including the sanitary district tax). This represents a $6.6 million reduction from the budget proposed by the County Manager.

County Budget up 3%, Schools funding up 4.7%

The Board made cuts, reallocations and minor additions to the County Manager’s Proposed FY2015 Budget, after hearing from the public and vigorously questioning staff during numerous work sessions with each County department.

The Board balanced the budget by limiting the growth of County expenses, while increasing the amount and portion of local funds going to the Schools. Based on the revised real estate tax rate, the County’s Budget will increase 3% from the FY 2014 Adopted Budget while School funding will increase 4.7%.

Average tax and fee burden to increase 4.6%

The Board’s action means the overall tax and fee burden for the average Arlington homeowner will be 4.6% higher than in 2014, or about $27 a month, a decrease from the Manager’s proposed budget. It also ensures that Arlington’s real estate tax rate remains the lowest in the region.

This reflects the 5.3% increase in the average residential property assessment and a 3.4% increase in the water-sewer rate. The household solid waste rate also will increase by 4%. Part of that increase will be used to fund year-round collection of yard waste – a service provided by nearly all of Arlington’s neighboring jurisdictions.

Increased funding for Arlington Public Schools

The Board’s action provides $432.2 million to the Schools, an increase in base funding of $19.6 million, or 4.7% more than FY 2014.

The Board maintained the County’s commitment to keeping Arlington Public Schools among the nation’s finest. With this budget, Arlington’s support of our students now exceeds $19,000 per pupil – more than any other school district in the region. The Board supported a 4.7% increase in APS base funding, additional funding of $8 million for school construction or other one-time expenses, and added funds for another school clinic aide and three new School Resource Officers.

Strategic Investments with one-time fundsThe Board  provided funding for several key efforts. Highlights include:

  • Economic stabilization contingent ($3 million)
  • ConnectArlington, to provide high speed fiber connectivity for Arlington businesses and to accelerate economic development ($1.6 million)
  • Tourism marketing ($200,000)
  • Continuing Police participation in the regional gang task force ($25,000)
  • Numerous social safety net priorities, including $500,000 above this year’s funding for affordable housing; a new sexual assault hotline ($52,000) a mental health coordinator to train first responders and the judiciary ($72,606); and staffing and operating costs of the new Homeless Services Center, expected to open in early 2015 ($700,000)
  • Plowing snow from bike trails ($300,000)
  • Overtime for additional police to manage pub crawl enforcement ($42,000)

Modest 1% COLA for employees

The Board did not include funding for a merit step increase for staff. However, recognizing that the County workforce has had to do more with less in recent years due to constrained budgets, the Board’s plan provides County employees with a 1% cost of living adjustment and provides a $500 bonus to employees in FY 2015. The Board also added two holidays for employees following Christmas and New Year’s as both holidays fall on a Thursday.

Formal adoption of the budget is scheduled to take place April 22. For more information, visit the FY 2015 budget page on the County website.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 5266 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A water rescue operation is underway along Four Mile Run after reports of a drunk man falling down an embankment. The incident happened shortly before 4 p.m. behind the Virginia…

With the Yellow Line bridge and tunnel work complete, Metro is upping service on the line. Starting Sunday, Yellow Line trains will arrive every eight minutes all day, the transit…

In honor of the one-month anniversary of this article, we give you a new Mike Mount cartoon. In case you don’t get the reference, it also riffs on some of…

Join MoCA Arlington Summer Camps at Marymount University and learn the fundamentals of handbuilding, throwing on a wheel, glazing, and much more. In this two-week course, students will explore hand building techniques, wheel throwing, and strengthen ideas that exemplify individual artist expression guided by professional working artists. Students of all skill levels are welcome!

Visit MoCA Arlington’s Website here and the registration page to secure your space today!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Please join us on Saturday, June 3, from 2 to 4 pm for the Glencarlyn Home Tour in Arlington’s historic Glencarlyn neighborhood.  Among the featured homes will be a sparkling new home by A&N Builders at 5604-4th St. South. The inviting front porch opens to a light-filled space featuring high ceiling, wood floors, gas fireplace,  Pella windows, Shrock cabinets, Quartz countertop, and JennAir appliances.  Doors from the family room open to a large covered porch with a few steps to the level, landscaped rear yard.  Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, laundry room, and linen storage.  The big lower level has a rec room, gym space, and a fifth bedroom and bathroom plus even more storage.  After leaving the home, stroll to the Ball-Sellers home, the oldest residence in Arlington, the community gardens at the library, Carlin Hall, and the 94 acre Glencarlyn Park. A lovely way to while away a late spring afternoon.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.

Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers

4th of July Celebration & Fireworks

Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.

Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,


Subscribe to our mailing list