Prince William County’s board of supervisors adopted a fiscal year 2021 budget Tuesday evening that boosts the county’s data center and motor vehicle license tax rates while keeping the real estate property tax rate flat.
The real estate tax rate, while remaining flat at $1.125 per $100 in assessed value, will still result in a $177 increase to the average annual residential tax bill next year due to an increase in home assessments, however. The average residential real estate tax bill is based on a home valued at $387,000.
The board raised annual county vehicle taxes from $24 to $33 for cars and trucks and from $12 to $20 for motorcycles.
Also, the supervisors boosted the computer and peripherals tax rate by 10 cents, from $1.25 to $1.35 per $100 in assessed value. In Prince William County, the vast majority of this tax revenue is paid by data centers.
The board was split along party lines on the tax increases, with all five Democrats voting in favor of them and all three Republicans voting against them.
Supervisors voting in favor included Chair Ann Wheeler, D-At Large, and Supervisors Victor Angry, D-Neabsco; Andrea Bailey, D-Potomac; Kenny Boddye, D-Occoquan; and Margaret Franklin, D-Woodbridge. Those opposed included Supervisors Peter Candland, R-Gainesville; Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville; and Yesli Vega, R-Coles.
The tax increases will fund a slimmed down county budget that is about $40 million less than what County Executive Chris Martino originally proposed in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the economic shock from the crisis, the county budget was also revised down to reflect a $30 million loss in projected revenue.
County spending was further cut after the board directed Martino to reduce the county’s proposed real estate tax rate from $1.145 to its current rate of $1.125. Even after slashing Martino’s proposed budget, the 2021 budget still provides millions more to the county than the current budget.
The budget will fall about $37 million short of the $666.9 million the school board requested from the board of supervisors in the budget they approved last month.
The county will transfer $629.6 million to the school division for next school year, which is about $17 million more than the $612.5 million the school division received from the county this year.
The board eliminated the planned across-the-board, 3% pay raises for county staff but voted along party lines to approve targeted salary increases recommended in a recent study of staff pay. The raises, which will go into effect July 1, will boost salaries for about 1,500 county employees in an effort to make their salaries more competitive with other Northern Virginia localities.
All five Democrats on the board voted in favor of the targeted raises, while the three Republican supervisors voted against them.
Prince William County is the second largest employer in the county behind only the school division. Martino said at last week’s board meeting that the bulk of the raises are for county employees who make between about $43,000 and $65,000 a year.
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