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Staff Suggests Real Estate Tax Raise to Deal With Budget's Perfect Storm

Tax rate could go up by 11.5 cents.

Fairfax City staff suggested increasing real estate taxes to make up a fiscal year 2013 deficit of about $8 million at Tuesday's council meeting.

Perfect storm-like conditions mean tough decisions for council members in the next two months. This budget season, the city will have to contend with reduced cash reserves, the need for significant street maintenance, an off-the-charts school bill, and payments to Fairfax County for a wastewater plant overhaul.

"I've stood up here too many times apologizing... and I have to do it one more time," said City Manager Bob Sisson as he presented the budget on Feb. 28.

Sisson and his budget group recommended raising real estate taxes by 11.5 cents. to 93.7 cents from the recommended $1. Next year taxpayers could face a tax rate of $1.05 per $100 assessed value.

For homeowners, that amounts to an additional:

  • $399 a year for a $300,000 assessed property
  • $665 a year for a $500,000 assessed property
  • $931 a year for a $700,000 assessed property

For business owners, that means an additional:

  • $1,492 a year for a $1 million assessed commercial property
  • $2,985 a year for a $2 million assessed commercial property
  • $7,462 a year for a $5 million assessed commercial property

Why? 

  • Fairfax County raised the city's school bill .
  • There's little to no money left over from previous budget seasons to offset fiscal year 2013 costs.
  • The city is looking at $8 million in additional expenditures, more than recent years.
  • 53 percent of the total general fund balance is non-negotiable. That chunk of the budget is made up of items that are required.
  • The staff-proposed FY2013 budget is $164,306,976, an 18.6 percent increase over the 2012 adopted budget.

Check Patch for more budget details later.

Brian March 01, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Why doesn't the city put a hold on spending instead of always passing their mismanagement of moneys on the citizens by taxing us to death? I have lived in this city for over 25 years and have seen money pissed away on marble curbs and brick sidewalks that always need fixing. Too many of their bright ideas are just chasing business away from the city. The elimination of valuable parking to expand a useless park is another example of mismanagement. Hopefully with Scott Silverthorne as mayor might bring some common sense to this city.
Jim Kaplan March 02, 2012 at 02:08 PM
"Fairfax City staff suggested increasing real estate taxes...The staff-proposed FY2013 budget is $164,306,976, an 18.6 percent increase over the 2012 adopted budget." I hope the Council rejects staff recommendations to tax more and spend more. I am a federal employee and my Defense agency is facing a 10-15% cut in actual dollars this year. My pay has been frozen for two years - with three more planned. And the staff want to raise my taxes $500-900 a year to pay for a bigger city government? I also hope the School Board will make clear to their County counterparts how much these big increases in education spending are impacting our budget. Part of the School Board's primary role is to serve as our liaisons to the County - the County needs to hear from them.

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