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Stafford supervisors may up real estate taxes but lower personal property taxes

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The average Stafford County homeowner would pay an additional $74 in real estate taxes next year under the rate the Board of Supervisors decided to advertise this week.

The board also suggested reducing the personal property tax rate from $6.89 to $6.61 in an attempt to keep the total residents pay in real estate and property taxes the same. But the county may also impose a new half-cent levy to cover the costs of meeting state-mandated stormwater regulations.

The board voted 4–3 Tuesday to advertise a real estate rate of $1.019 per $100 of assessed value, which is effectively an increase of just over a penny.

The average home price in Stafford, under the reassessment that took effect this year, is $268,000, which would result in a bill of about $2,731, according to Commissioner of Revenue Scott Mayauksy.

Last year, the rate was $1.07 per $100 of assessed value, creating an average tax bill of $2,657 for homeowners.

The adjustment increase in the real estate tax rate was proposed by board Chairman Jack Cavalier, who also called for dropping the prospective stormwater district tax from 1 cent to a half-cent tax and eliminating six county positions from the budget.

The changes would give the county $203,000 in flexibility as it continues to review County Administrator Anthony Romanello’s proposed $261 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“I had to piece it together enough that it would satisfy the needs of the majority,” Cavalier said.

Supervisors Laura Sellers, Paul Milde and Cord Sterling opposed the tax rate. Sellers wanted to advertise a higher tax rate to provide more flexibility to address public safety and education concerns.

The School Board and more than 25 teachers asked supervisors Tuesday night for a $19.6 million increase in local money to pay for new hires, rising health insurance costs, retirement costs and raises.

Romanello’s proposed budget recommends giving the schools $5.2 million more, a number that includes $2.3 million of state money.

Sterling did not want to advertise a tax rate for the stormwater district at all.

For both the stormwater district and other advertised tax rates, the board can always lower the advertised rate but not increase it without readvertising.

The half-cent tax for the stormwater district would go to meet state requirements to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The stormwater tax would be sent out with the real estate tax bill, but shown as a different line item.

“We wanted to separate the two [taxes] out to show it is a state mandate,” Cavalier said.

The mandate starts this year and is projected to cost the county $42 million over the next 15 years.

The public hearing for the proposed tax rates and stormwater district will be April 15. The board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the tax rates and budget on April 29.

Jessica Koers: 540/374-5444

jkoers@freelancestar.com

 

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