Email signup

Fairfax County’s proposed budget sees residential taxes rise again, as supervisors ponder relief

Fairfax County’s logo on the government center (via Machvee/Flickr)

(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) The proposed 2024 budget has real estate taxes once again increasing for many, as home values across Fairfax County continue to rise.

At yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, County Executive Bryan Hill presented his proposed fiscal year 2024 budget. The $5.1 billion budget is up $280 million from last year — an increase of about 6%, largely due to real estate taxes going up.

While the budget calls for the tax rate to stay the same as last year at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, the average bill is set to increase by about $520 for homeowners, thanks to a nearly 7% rise in real estate assessments.

Hill warned in November that assessments were likely to go up, and Board Chairman Jeff McKay told FFXnow last month that he expected real estate taxes to be a big discussion point during the budget debate. But the extent of the increase nonetheless elicited strong reactions from supervisors.

McKay said that, given last year’s numbers, the tax rate is “far too high,” while Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity called the increase “unacceptable.” They signaled strong support for finding a way to provide residential tax relief to residents.

The proposed budget includes $90 million in unallocated funds that can be used at the “Board’s consideration.” A huge chunk of this, if not all, could be used to lower residents’ tax burden in some form, as was the case for the current fiscal year 2023.

The county’s budget continues to rely on real estate taxes, more than three-fourths of which come from residential property owners.

Nonresidential real estate values also increased this year, but by less than residential values. This means that real estate taxes make up more of the tax base than in FY 2023, increasing by about 0.75%.

While seemingly a small tick up, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said the trend is going in the wrong direction and that commercial real estate taxes should make up at least 25% of the tax base. It currently only makes up just over 16%.

“Clearly, we are off. It’s not good and very disconcerting,” he said. “We need a plan or a strategy to address these issues.”

Hill’s budget plan proposes a $144 million increase in funds provided to Fairfax County Public Schools, which typically gets over 50% of the overall budget. That represents more than a 6% hike from FY 2023, which began on July 1, 2022.

But that number is about $15 million lower than what Superintendent Michelle Reid initially requested.

As expected, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers doesn’t agree with this proposal, writing in a statement that it “strongly encourages the Board of Supervisors to fully fund the FCPS budget request.”

One of the bigger questions hanging over this year’s school budget is if the state will rectify a calculation error expected to lead to FCPS getting about $18 million less than anticipated. That includes about $13 million missing from the FY 2024 budget.

It remains unclear if the state will reimburse the missing money, or provide any extra, from its $2 billion surplus. When Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust asked when the state will make a decision on its budget, a few chuckles arose from staff about the uncertain situation.

Christina Jackson, Fairfax County’s chief financial officer, said the county is optimistic and is in a “better position” to see much-needed funds headed their way from the state.

As anticipated late last year, this year’s budget process may be one of the “one of the most challenging” in years. This is due to inflation, staff retention challenges, and surging real estate values.

“Balancing the impacts of inflation, the labor market and other economic pressures with the need to fund critical programs and services has made this a difficult budget year,” Hill said in a county press release. “But I am very proud of the work of our budget staff and all our employees in managing through these challenges and moving forward to meet the needs of our residents.”

Hill led off his presentation to the board by emphasizing that the aim of this year’s budget is maintaining and “stabilizing our core,” meaning county staff and existing programs.

“I know that the Board remains concerned about the retention and recruitment issues that our agencies have been facing over the past two years, and I have spent considerable time with my leadership team developing ways in which to tackle these issues,” Hill wrote in his budget message to supervisors.

In the budget is a $134.5 million increase in county disbursement, including a 2% market scale adjustment for most county employees. That’s lower than even what staff had recommended in order to stay competitive in hiring and retention. They had calculated a rate of 5.44%.

“The proposed Fairfax County budget misses the mark when it comes to giving workers the wages we deserve, ” said Tammie Wondong, SEIU Virginia 512 Fairfax President and a 33-year county employee in a statement. “In fact, when the county funds the market rate adjustment (MRA) at only 2% when it should be 5.44%, let’s call it what it is – a pay cut.”

About one-third of the entire budget goes to staff compensation.

Inflation also adds $18 million to the budget this year, associated with cost increases to cover utility and information technology contracts and lease adjustments.

Supervisors will host a number of public meetings over the next few months to allow residents a chance to provide feedback on the proposed budget.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote and adopt the FY 2024 budget on May 9.

Photo via Machvee/Flickr

Recent Stories

FFXnow Daily Debrief for Sep 26, 2023

Good Tuesday evening! Today we published 7 articles that were read a total of 9085 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…

A casino may still be on the table for Fairfax County, though it faces some long odds to becoming a reality. According to a new report by Patch, the real…

The new signs planned for Chesterbrook Shopping Center in McLean won’t point to their corresponding businesses with big, flashing arrows, but that’s essentially the effect property owner Federal Realty hopes to achieve.

At a time when cities from D.C. to San Francisco are grappling with historically high vacancy rates, Fairfax City is feeling pretty good about the rising demand for its commercial space….

If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!

In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!

We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Our local therapy practice is delighted to welcome Stacey Cali, Resident in Counseling, who has openings now for new clients. Stacey specializes in therapy for women, couples, teens and families. A graduate of George Mason University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Masters Program, Stacey is also passionate about working with people with addiction.

Stacey’s approach: “Therapy’s a powerful combination of reflection, support and action. You’ll find sessions are filled with empowerment, compassion, goal setting and a metaphorical shovel to dig deep to find the root of your difficulties and how to move past them.”

Adds Stacey, “As a therapist who works with women, teens, couples and families, I use a personalized style of counseling, tailored to you as an individual. You’re the expert in your life, I’m just here to guide you towards transformation and healing.”

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

First Baby? Find Your New Mom Tribe!

Whether you’re expecting your first baby or you just had your first baby, we want to meet YOU! All those feelings you’re having are NORMAL and it’s not just you. Please don’t isolate yourself – that’s quicksand.

Mamistad groups are

Reston Home Tour

Celebrate Reston’s diverse and inspiring architecture on this self-guided tour of seven stunning properties. The Tour showcases spectacular homes, each transformed by its owners’ style. By capitalizing on Reston’s lush green space, many with lake views, these homes highlight what


Subscribe to our mailing list