The Board advertised a rate of $1.011 per $100 of assessed value, 1.5 cents above the current $0.996 rate.
By advertising the higher rate, the Board has given itself the flexibility to raise the rate should it choose to do so, despite County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s recommendation (and the Board’s guidance) of keeping the tax rate steady.
The advertised rate is the highest rate the Board may set when it finalizes its Fiscal Year 2016 budget in April.
“The Manager has put forward her budget, which complies with our direction. The County Board’s work now begins,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “This advertisement sets the stage for a Board and community deliberation about revenue and expenditures.”
“While no one on the County Board wants to see tax rates increase, we believe that having flexibility at this point in time is necessary as we hear from the community, scour the budget for savings, evaluate programs and monitor economic circumstances,” Hynes continued. “Our final goal is to arrive at a sustainable, balanced budget that best serves all Arlingtonians.”
Even if the tax rate were to remain the same, the average Arlington homeowner’s annual tax bill would increase $281 to $7,567, due largely to a rise in residential property assessments.