Today’s Daily Progress has a

front page story

on County Republican efforts to get the Board of Supervisors thinking about a lowered tax rate.

“The Republicans’ argument hinges on a Virginia law that requires localities to hold a public hearing if property assessments go up more than 1 percent. If localities do not hold the public hearing, the tax rate cannot be set higher than the rate that would account for the increase in assessments.”

“In this case, Albemarle County Republicans say the rate would fall to 58 cents per $100 of assessed value to account for the rise in assessments. That amount would give the county slightly more in real estate revenue than what it had last year – that’s the point of the law, proponents of the Republican’s view say.”

In Albemarle County, the current rate is $0.74 per $100.  That is about
$2,368 annually in property taxes for homes assessed at the median
sales price in Albemarle (4Q 2006).


In a previous post, I prepared

a user guide for the tax rate debate

.

There I detail the arguments of County Republican Chair Keith Drake and Supervisor Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett).

Timing is an issue here.  The County Executive presented the Board with property assessment projections late last year.  Further, that is when the Board provides direction on how the County Executive should approach the building of the current budget (a document going public this Friday).  To my knowledge, there was no direction from the Supervisors to build the budget on a lowered tax rate at that time, with the exception of some discussion about how to handle the one-time windfall from the switch to annual assessments.  Further, the five-year financial forecast presented by County Executive Bob Tucker to the Board on January 10, 2007

shows a $0.74 tax rate assumption through FY2012

.

It appears there is support from a majority of Supervisors to lower that rate in this budget and this discussion certainly helps the public understand there will still be an increase in taxes overall.   In the coming weeks, the Supervisors will have to reconcile the impact of that rate change on their long term financial plans, which include a possible bond referendum in 2008 to borrow funds for capital needs.

By the way, for

next

January when annual assessments start, Mr. Tucker is projecting an increase of 11.5% in County property values.

Brian Wheeler

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