James J. McCoart Administration Center Prince William County

Prince William County's James J. McCoart Administration Center

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.

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com

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(6) comments

someone

The residents will be CLOSELY watching this Board of Supervisors. New members of the Board immediately wanted to raise taxes & implement additional give-away programs. That's their entire, shallow concept of government. The residents will be watching them. It's also obvious that it would require WORK to root-out wasteful county spending, so, it'll never get done. BTW, Martino's annual salary is $350,000.

RaiderRider

Patriots,

I’m disappointed to inform you that in the midst of skyrocketing unemployment the Board of County Supervisors has voted to levy the second largest tax increase in the last twelve years in addition to increasing motor vehicle fees by 38%.

Voting To Increase Taxes and Fees:

Victor Angry (D) - Neabsco

Andrea Bailey (D) - Potomac

Kenny Allen Boddye (D) - Occoquan

Margaret Franklin (D) - Woodbridge

Ann Betteridge Wheeler

(D) - Chairman

Voting Against the Residential Tax Increase and Vehicle Fees:

Pete Candland (R) - Gainesville

Jeanine Lawson (R) - Brentsville

Yesli Vega (R) - Coles

Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact our Supervisors to vote against this large tax increase in the midst of COVID-19.

As always, you can share your thoughts with them on this issue or any other at BOCS@pwcgov.org. — feeling sad.

cultured2014

democrat voting for more taxes..call me shocked.

InsideCommenter

The main increase is on data centers which just about no average citizen in the county owns. A 9 dollar increase on the annual vehicle fee is hardly anything, basically the price of a meal at CFA.

HARRYCANYON

Data Centers are owned by corporations, not any "citizen" anywhere. Corporations pass expenses along to the consumer. You and Me and all the "average citizens" that use data are paying the tax increase through the increased cost of data.

Is every "average citizen" eats one less meal at CFA, that's a major tax penalty for CFA. A huge hit. $4,230,000 What did they do to deserve that?

InsideCommenter

This statement shows a lack of understanding of Economies of Scale. The reality is data centers are a dime in a dozen as Northern Virginia is a massive data center/ telecommunications hub.

The increase isn't drastic enough to be outweighed by increased production and efficiency of data/telecommunications. So in the end any price increases will be marginal. The cost benefit analysis supports the tax increase on data centers, that's why many GOP and DEM board members have voiced support for it. As this will allow less tax burden on us residents.

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