vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Tax Rate Twist

If the Stafford County Board of Supervisors follows the recommendation of their Budget and Finance Committee, they could advertise a real estate tax rate of $1.12 for the upcoming fiscal year. That would be two cents below the rate that County Administrator Anthony Romanello used to craft his proposed budget.

Depending on what is ultimately approved, the lower tax rate could mean $2,340,000 in cuts to the proposed budget. Each penny on the tax rate generates about $1,170,000 in revenue for the county.

The $1.14 tax rate used by Romanello is referred to as the “Modified Equalized Rate,” meaning that the average homeowner would pay the same amount in taxes as they did last year.  Under the $1.14 budget, Commissioner of the Revenue Scott Mayausky said that 50 percent of homeowners would not see an increase in their total real estate tax bill. The $1.12 rate, while an increase over the current 84-cent rate, would likely result in lower tax bills for more Stafford residents than previously anticipated.

“We made our recommendation based on the worst case scenario,” Romanello said of his proposed budget. “State revenues came in better than we thought. We are currently evaluating our numbers and will continue working through the budget process with the Board.”

Supervisors typically set the annual tax rate at or below the rate advertised for public hearing. Adopting a higher rate would require a second public hearing. The adopted budget must be balanced, so any reduction in the tax rate demands a reduction in expenses or an increase in other revenues.

The members of the Budget and Finance Committee are supervisors Cord Sterling, Susan Stimpson and Gary Snellings. Their recommendation will be delivered at a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday March 23, when supervisors hope to schedule a public hearing on tax rates and the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The county budget is typically passed in April.

“The proposed budget was just the starting point,” Romanello said. “There is still much work to be done by staff and the Board.”


  • http://MAVRICKinc MGWork

    Making any comment would only be a premature gesture on my part or anyone elses. We haven’t had a chance to read trhe fine print. This is only mile marker one. The other shoe will eventually drop. Let’s hope Stafford residents get a chance to see it, digest it, make an informed decision BEFORE publication and the hearing date set for public input. My crystal ball is out for repairs, and I’m sure it won’t be returned before the BOSs cast their budget strategy in concrete. The worst case scenario? A buck twelve is a lot of money to saddle county residents with, in the short or long term, unless the budget provides for light at the end of this tunnel. If not, the budget will be nothing more than a guess in an open ended budget contract with no minimums or maximums to account for spending and fiscal responsibility.

  • DDF

    FYI – 1 penny on the tax rate equals a bit more than $1.1M in total revenue.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    If a penny translates to $1.1M, how many pennies will Stafford County residents need to balance a budget and underwrite sound fiscal management of their money for the next 2-3 years. I’m certain I don’t know because I don’t have any more details than you, and as Mr Romanello has pointed out, the “proposed budget is just a starting point”, and “there is still much work to be done by staff and the Board.” The penny ratio to dollars is the simple part of the equation. Where Stafford Co.intends to spend your money for the biggest bank for your buck is quite another.

    Piggy banks are for pennies. If Stafford were to budget and put asside 2 cents for every dollar taken in, maybe FYI 2012 will look a lot better than than 2011 is going to be. Spectulation on my part? YES, but I’ve already admitted that up front.

    I’m still looking forward to seeing the details; penny wise not pound foolish. Since I’m not in the habit or practice of assuming anthing I’ll refrain from any conclusions being drawn from the little bit we know about this FY2011 budget and the process that serves to develope the budget.

    We can always flip a coin on what we think the advertised rate will be, but I think it’s best to become more informed, not about the pennies but the dollars. It’s the very least our elected leaders owe to us and how they want and intend to spend our money. You be the judge. I’ll hang back a little for the DETAILS.

  • DDF

    The details are there. The proposed budget is available online. But here are some FACTS. Since 11/2007 Stafford county has cut $11.6M from the budget and trimmed 82 positions + 9 more proposed for FY11. In 2006-7 schools cut 91 positions and more than $1.1M in front office staff positions. The school budget request is the same as 2006. The Counties $9.1M in stimulus funding and the schools $14.3M in stimulus funds runs out in FY11. That leaves a $23.4M funding cliff for FY12. Has anyone in given any thought to that. This year is a punch in the nose. Next year is a knockout. Does anyone expect county revenue to grow $23.4M next year !!! Add to that uncontrolled outside costs like insurance, supplies, fuel, salaries, etc and you can add $8-$10M to that.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    I think DDF has got it. My concern is like his own. Who’s listening. And yes, I have read Staffords 2011 online budget that has not as yet been cast in concrete. As for FY 2012 our speculation will be found on the same page, and we’re not talking about nose bleeds eitrher.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    Just checking. I keep seeing the same dialogue and numbers being presented at other blog sites and wondered if DDF is also the Dean. As you can expect, there can only be one person or entity who can answer this question. I’m not going to wait very long for a response. To linger, only slows us all down. It would however, simplify who’s at bat, and what team they are playing for.