City Council will advertise 6-cent real estate tax increase
NOTE: In an earlier version of this story, the reason that Vice Mayor Brad Ellis was absent from Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was not fully explained.
The Fredericksburg City Council will advertise a 6-cent increase in the real estate tax rate for the coming year, along with increases in trash, water and sewer fees.
The council agreed to those advertised rates and fees during a budget work session on Tuesday from which three members were absent.
Vice Mayor Brad Ellis and Councilman George Solley w ere both out of town on business, and Councilwoman Bea Paolucci was ill.
The advertised tax rate is the highest rate the council can ultimately agree to for the budget that begins on July 1 unless it advertises again. However, the council can adopt a lower rate.
Council members said they wanted to advertise that rate to provide flexibility as they continue evaluating the budget for fiscal 2015.
A public hearing on City Manager Bev Cameron’s proposed budget will be held next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall. A public hearing on the tax rates and fees is scheduled for April 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the same location.
Cameron proposed a balanced budget with no tax increase. However, in presenting it to the City Council on March 11, he told the council he hoped members would find a way to give employees a bonus or raise.
In budget work sessions to date, council members have seemed supportive of a cost-of-living increase for staff. A staff-wide COLA of 2 percent would cost $415,000.
The current real estate tax rate is 74 cents per $100 of assessed value. Each penny increase in that rate generates $360,000.
The advertised rate is 80 cents per $100 of assessed value. The median value of a house in the city is $241,000.
The current tax on that property is $1,783.40. At an 80-cent rate, the tax would be $1,928, an increase of $144.60 per year.
The personal property tax rate is to remain at $3.40 per $100 of assessed value.
Cameron’s original budget proposal included a 9.5 percent increase in water rates and a 7.8 percent increase in sewer rates.
On Tuesday, at the council’s budget work session, he proposed an increase in trash fees as a result of a projected deficit in operations of the Rappahannock Regional Landfill.
The proposal is to increase the rate for residential collection by $3.20 per month and the rate for high-density residential collection by $2.60 per month. That would bring the rates to $20.85 and $16.70 per month, respectively.
The Rappahannock Regional Landfill Board met last Wednesday and agreed to proportionally share the projected deficit of $228,000. The city partners with Stafford County. The city’s share is $111,720. The proposed fee increase would generate $112,000 for the city.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972