In a rather anticlimactic move yesterday, PWC supervisors locked in a $1.21 tax rate per hundred. The tax rate can always be lowered but cannot be raised. The vote was predictable. According to the Washington Post:
The spending plan County Executive Craig S. Gerhart proposed last month would reduce services, suspend road construction, freeze salaries and tap reserves to close a $190 million shortfall projected for the fiscal year that begins in July.
The $1.21 rate is the second highest in the metro area. However, looking at the bottom line, it certainly is not the most expensive real estate taxation. Plummeting property values have caused an overall reduction in property taxes. Most homes will find the real estate taxes cut by about $400.
Chairman Stewart, who opened the meeting by commenting on the federal stimulus package money, had this predictably partisan remark to say about the new tax rate:
“I believe the way to spur the economy is by cutting taxes, not raising them. It comes down to a philosophical divide,” board Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large) said. “Prince William is the only Republican-led jurisdiction in the D.C.-metro area. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise we’re cutting taxes.”
It will be the job of the supervisors to not gut our county services, There is always the chance that someone hoping to appeal to the no new taxes crowd will also try to make an end run to reduce taxes even more by setting a lower tax rate than advertised. All we know now is that the $1.21 rate is the ceiling. Even if $1.21 is set as the new rate, we are still not sure what county services will remain in tact.
Many of us here on Anti have compared how much value our homes have lost since the county assessments were put online. Now we can brag how much our taxes have been reduced. To calculate your new bottom line if you live in the county: Find your assessment, divide by 100, and multiply by 1.212. I am going to bet the Westgate people win the bragging rights on most lowered taxes.
What are the critical services that we must retain to preserve quality of life here in Prince William County? Did the new stimulus money help the schools enough? Will one of the supervisors try to alter the amount given to the schools because of stimulus money? Now that would just be WRONG.