Prince William Board of Supervisors

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors during a recent meeting in the board chambers at the James J. McCoart Building.

Taxes may be going up in Prince William County after July 1, with a proposed boost in real estate tax bills, a new cigarette tax and an increase in the rate on computer equipment, a tax mostly paid by data centers. A new 4% meals tax is under discussion but would not be considered until next spring. 

Under County Executive’s Chris Martino’s proposed $1.35 billion budget, the 2022 real estate tax rate remains at $1.125 per $100. But an increase in real estate assessments would add $306 to the average annual residential tax bill, bringing it to $4,675.

The county is proposing new taxes, including a 30-cent-per-pack cigarette tax that would generate an estimated $3 million per year to be spent new parks projects. Martino is also proposing a 4% meals tax for the fiscal year 2023 budget that would generate an estimated $24.5 million per year to be put toward school funding and county staffing plans.

Any decision on approving a meals tax would not happen until the spring of 2022, however.

The county executive’s budget also proposes a big hike in the business tangible computer and peripheral tax, also known as the data center tax, from $1.35 to $1.60 per $100 in assessed value.

The county’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget will increase the amount sent to the county school system by $34.6 million, a 5.5% increase over last year’s budget. The county has a revenue sharing agreement that traditionally directs 57.23% of the county’s local tax revenue to schools.

The budget also provides increased spending on for public safety, law enforcement and judicial services. That budget adds six new police positions, half of which would go to the newly established “co-responder” program that sends mental health clinicians alongside police to answer mental health calls.

The added positions, totaling $328,000, would double the size of the co-responder program and allow them to operate on nights and weekends. In the county budget, staff writes that the existing co-responder units “have been overwhelmed with calls for service and the additional units would allow for more follow-up and outreach time.”

The budget also funds two new school resource officers for two new schools, Potomac Shores Middle School and Gainesville High School, both scheduled to open this August, and two civilian police positions to staff the new animal shelter.

Fire Station 22 in Groveton would receive funding for 14 full-time employees in the county budget.

It would also fund numerous upgrades for improvements to existing fire and rescue buildings and equipment.

The budget would also fund $382,000 in salary supplements for juvenile court services workers aimed at reducing youth recidivism and improving staff retention.

The county’s juvenile court services turnover rate is the highest of any locality in Northern Virginia at 48%, according to the county executive’s budget presentations.

Additionally, the budget funds two new assistant commonwealth’s attorney’s positions, and five new positions for the circuit court, general district court and juvenile and domestic relations court. It also maintains the county’s $350,000 salary supplement for the county’s new public defender office.

The budget would also continue to ramp up funding for the social services and community services staffing and programing in the county. That includes 10 new staffing positions for a new homeless shelter near Potomac Mills, which is proposed to open in fall of 2022.

It also funds eight new positions for the county’s benefits, employment and childcare (BECC) division that serves low-income county residents. BECC helps process applications for Medicaid, SNAP and TANF.

The proposed budget also expands funding, including six new staffing positions, to establish a child advocacy center for the investigation, treatment, intervention and prosecution of child abuse cases.

Martino will present the budget to the board next Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The board has several budget work sessions and two public hearings coming up over the next few months before they adopt the budget in late April.

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com

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(12) comments

William May

A 7% property tax caused by inflated property assessments is real bad news for seniors living on a fixed income. In 2021 my social security increased by a measly 1.3%. Food, medical care and other essentials have gone up by way more that 1.3%.

pw resident

I am willing to pay more taxes to help out the county to function better. It is important to have good services and help out the poor.

TerryT

If the county would encourage affordable housing for current residents rather than only high end housing, it could make life better for all. People would not have to work multiple jobs to keep a roof overhead. Some of the money would transition from rent to feeding their family (less school debt for lunch), jobs would be created, stress would lessen. People could improve their situation from a stronger base. Adult children could move out, seniors wouldn’t have to move away. Community spirit could be improved.

JosephGeorge4Neabsco

TerryT, that makes too much sense, plus the Conservative attitudes on here only care about themselves, not their fellow man (or woman).

Mrs. Silence Dogood

That's why the good Citizens of PWC told you NOT to vote Democrat. Apparently it makes them feel better to give others your money.

But you didn't listen.

Shame on you.

Omarndc72

Too many illegals in the county.

JosephGeorge4Neabsco

I’d ask “how many are too many”, but your response would be “one is too many”, because you throw out that statement without any numbers to validate it.

Drronchapman

In any given jurisdiction about 50% (a little more or a little less) of the Hispanic population is here illegally. If you extrapolate that to Prince William County then you’re looking at 12-13-% of the County or around 55-60,000.

JosephGeorge4Neabsco

Thank you for your response Omarndc72!!!

HARRYCANYON

Everybody is moving south. Wonder why? The amount of taxes I pay on my home and cars is insane. And what do I get? A gun held to my head saying it's not enough. High time for some fiscal responsibility. Chris Martino, it's not your money, it's my money, it's my neighbor's money. You need to do your job. As someone said...."Any knucklehead can raise taxes"

someone

Why doesn't the County ever discover ways to CUT COSTS? Any knucklehead can raise taxes.

Louise

Very few people employed by PWC have any business experience. There is too much waste of taxpayer money as a result. Go to the County’s website and look at some of the audits the taxpayers have paid for, the audit reports come back (available on website) the county gets briefed and then nothing gets changed. The problem has been going on for so long that it’s become standard operating procedure. There is no way to change this until the BOCS or Martino do their jobs. Even when a PWC employee identifies a way to make improvements to save money, there is nothing they can do. What are they suppose to do without jeopardizing their job? The only available option to address the issue is to show up at a BOCS meeting and speak during citizens time and assume their job will now be in danger. Every PWC taxpayer should demand that County look at not where the monies are budgeted but how it’s actually spent.

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