Second Hearing on Budget/Tax Rate

The Board of Supervisors will hold the second of two Public Hearings on the Budget and Proposed Tax Rate on Wednesday, March 28th, 6:00pm in the Lane Auditorium of the County Office Building.

Is is vitally important that progressive folks attend to show support for the equalized tax rate.

Whether or not you are able to attend, please also send an email to bos@albemarle.org.  Identify yourself by the magisterial district in which you live. Keep your email brief, and in your own words.

The equalized rate offsets the drop in property values by adding 2.3 cents to the current tax rate (from 74.2 cents to 76.5 cents per $100 in value). With the drop in home values, this tax rate will keep total tax payments flat for most homeowners. This will be the fourth year in a row that the average homeowner will see their tax payment either lowered or stay steady.

Of the 2.3 cents, one-half penny will be dedicated to the Capital program which has not been funded for the past three years, and thus is behind where the fund should be. Capital expenditures have been restricted to maintenance, but now–when interest rates and construction bids are low–is the perfect time to make needed capital investments.

Budget Facts:

* Albemarle is among the top 100 wealthiest counties in the US. Two comparable counties in Central Virginia have considerably higher tax rates than Albemarle:  the tax rate for Henrico county, with a slightly lower per-capita income, is 87 cents; while Chesterfield, with a still-lower per-capita income, has a property tax rate of 95 cents.

* Despite added mandates from the state and federal governments, Albemarle County has maintained low tax rates throughout the challenging economic environment of the last four years.

* Albemarle County has done more with less in the last four years: for instance, lowering the staffing level per county resident to roughly the same as it was in 2001.

* The low interest rates and lower construction costs because of the recession make this an ideal time to make overdue targeted capital investments in critical core services such as police training facilities and a needed fire/rescue station in Ivy.

* This budget reflects numerous savings due to efforts such as increased volunteerism, and regional partnerships with private organizations and other local governments.

* The county has implemented new fiscal policies to maintain our AAA bond rating, critical to maintaining low interest rates on our debt; and to increase the collection of delinquent taxes, both of which reduce the tax burden on the average homeowner.

* The recommended 2012-13 budget shows a revenue increase of 2.4% total; the total portion of the revenue stream that comes from property taxes is only 45.2%. The amount of property tax revenue is anticipated to increase by 3% (mostly NOT due to equalization, but to new construction, improvement in market value, other property taxes, and increased collection of delinquent taxes).

* The recommended budget expenditures show an increase of 3.7% in the school budget; there is a 6.4% increase in state funding.

* NOT passing the equalized rate will likely result in no police firing range, no EMS service on Pantops, no staffing for the new fire station. Cuts in existing programs could mean losing nearly two million off the school budget, resulting in teacher layoffs, –and possibly police officer layoffs.

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