It’s Going to Cost More To Do More

It’s Going to Cost More To Do More

Public Hearings on the tax rate and sewer rate.

Reclaimed water at Fairfax County’s Norman Cole Wastewater Treatment Plant

Reclaimed water at Fairfax County’s Norman Cole Wastewater Treatment Plant

   Real estate tax per “typical residence” FY 2025 Fairfax County Advertised Budget Plan

“The whole office market in this area has really gone to hell.” 

— Thomas Cranmer, Great Falls

Due to rising service demands and challenges in funding them, Fairfax County faces significant challenges addressing its FY 2025 advertised budget of $3.8 billion, an increase of $301.8 million or 8.6 percent over the FY 2024 approved budget, according to statements on the Department of Management and Budget website. External factors, such as revenue diversification restrictions due to state control, have severely limited Fairfax County's flexibility in addressing budget requirements and continue to place a disproportionate burden on property owners, mainly residential taxpayers. The county faces an aging infrastructure, and the population requires more facilities.

A Fairfax County Board of Supervisors public hearing on April 16 opened testimony on the FY 2025 Effective Tax Rate Increase, and another public hearing, this one on sewer availability charges, service charges, base charges, and hauled wastewater charges

Fairfax County staffer Philip Hagen, director of the Department of Management and Budget, explained that the advertised effective real estate tax rate increase of $1.35 per $100 of assessed value is the rate upon which the FY 2025 advertised budget is balanced and an increase of over $0.04 of the real estate tax rate. 

The assessed value of residential real property will increase by 2.86 percent and non residential property values will decrease by 1.24 percent. Overall, existing properties will increase 1.91 percent.

Public Testimony on the Advertised FY 2025 Real Estate Tax Rate 

* Thomas Cranmer of Great Falls quoted a text from Supervisor Pat Herrity's newsletter that said people are leaving the county because of tax increases. “[It] is a problem for the county because these are the people who have to pay the taxes,” Cranmer said. He maintained that non-residential properties are generally office buildings, and “the whole office market in this area has really gone to hell.” 

* Arthur Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, argued that the proposed tax rate increase is not four cents, as the director of management budget said, but instead six cents. “The extra two cents is due to rising residential and commercial assessments,” Purves said.

* Katie Gorka, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, said that county housing prices have grown more than double the rate of income, placing a burden on families on top of higher prices for food, gas, and energy. “You want to impose an additional 7 percent tax increase through a tax rise and increased assessments. ... We say no to the tax hikes; time to tighten your belts,” Gorka said.

* Charles McAndrew, a Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance member, compared the FY 2025 advertised tax rates per $100 of assessed value of surrounding areas to Fairfax’s. Arlington County is $1.038; Prince William is $0.966; Stafford is $0.9175; and Fairfax is $1.135. “This is outlandish,” McAndrew said.

Chairman Jeff McKay said the record remains open until the budget markup on April 30.

Sewer Fees

The second public hearing provided testimony on Proposed Amendments to Section 67.1-10-2 of the Fairfax County Code Relating to Sewer Availability Charges, Service Charges, Base Charges, and Hauled Wastewater Charges If approved, the proposed rate increases for FY 25 are the same as the county proposed for FY 25 last year. 

“Those include a 2 percent rate increase for availability charge, 1 percent of which is to support a new solar investment program; a service charge increase of 4.14 percent or 35 cents per 1000 gallons; the base increase of $1.64 per month for residential units, and accordingly varying increases based on meter sizes for different types of units. The total impact of proposed increases on an average sewer bill is 5.8 percent or $3.51 monthly. And lastly, no increases are proposed for hauled wastewater charges,” said Shahram Mohsenin, director of the Wastewater Planning and Monitoring Division at Fairfax County. 

No one testified, and Chairman McKay closed the public hearing.