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Real estate, property taxes may rise in K.G.

King George taxpayers are looking at higher taxes on their homes and vehicles and having to pay more to adopt a cat or dog from the county shelter.

The only fees that aren’t going up, for the first time in five years, are water and sewer rates.

Supervisors are advertising a 6-cent increase in real estate taxes, which would raise rates from 53 cents to 59 cents per $100 of assessed value, but only half of that amount is a real increase. Property values dropped more than 4 percent during the 2013 reassessment, and taxes had to go up 3 cents just to equalize the difference, said County Administrator Travis Quesenberry.

The other 3 cents of the proposed increase are a true tax hike, marking the second time in three years the real estate tax rate has gone up by that margin.

Quesenberry presented a real-world example of how the tax rates will affect homeowners. He cited the bill of a friend, whose home was valued at $247,655 in 2013. Last fiscal year, that homeowner paid $1,313 in real estate taxes.

Under reassessed rates, that home is worth $235,768 in 2014, Quesenberry said. With a tax rate of 59 cents per $100 of assessed value, the homeowner would pay $1,391, or $78 more as a result of the increase.

Residents will have a chance to comment on the proposed rates at 6:30 p.m. April 15. The proposed budget for 2014–15 totals $68.2 million, a 4 percent increase from the current budget. Schools make up the biggest component—$37.2 million—and the public safety budget for the Sheriff’s Office and fire and rescue workers totals $8 million.

The Board of Supervisors also is recommending raising the rate for personal property taxes 5 cents, from $3.20 to $3.25 per $100 of assessed value. The rate increase would mark the first time the rates have changed since 2005–06, when they were $3.10 per $100 of assessed value.

Also at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Sheriff Steve Dempsey suggested raising the rates charged by its Animal Control department.

“We did a comparison with surrounding jurisdictions and found out our fees were quite low,” Dempsey said.

The board agreed and voted to advertise a public hearing, which hasn’t been set, when residents can comment on the rates.

Under the proposal, most rates will double. People who go to the shelter to get their animals back would pay $20 instead of $10. Every day the shelter holds an animal that’s been brought in as a stray, the owner would be charged $10 instead of $5.

And those interested in adopting a dog or cat would pay $25 instead of the current rate of $10.

The current rates generate about $3,600 per year, Dempsey said. They would more than double under the proposal.

Golf carts allowed

Also on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved changing the county code to allow golf carts at the Potomac Landing subdivision. The action was taken with little fanfare and a public hearing that included only one speaker.

The development is adjacent as well as similar to Fairview Beach, the waterside community which had been the only one in King George where golf carts were allowed. There’s only one road going in and out of Potomac Landing, the speed limit is 25 mph and there’s no through traffic.

At an earlier meeting, resident John Marlowe said drivers are used to driving slowly.

“This is a small and quiet community,” Marlowe told the supervisors.

As part of the agreement, the Potomac Landing Homeowners Association must pay to install and maintain the signs announcing golf carts are used in the community. Homeowners also have to take care of inspecting the golf carts and issuing stickers and licenses.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

 

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