Fairfax County is again asking the state for money to offset anticipated reductions in resident vehicle tax payments.
At a meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 24), the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a letter written by Chairman Jeff McKay for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, asking him to include money in his budget for localities to blunt the impact of a 15% decrease in car tax revenue.
“We all heard last year the complaints that came in. I don’t think people understand that we don’t set the value of cars. They are set by others,” Chairman Jeff McKay said. “So, the tool that we had in our toolbox was to automatically put a reduction in value on all those vehicles in the county. Even with that, most people’s…tax bills went up.”
Over the last several years, used car prices have increased dramatically, though they’ve started to come down in recent weeks. Because of that, many county taxpayers are paying significantly more in personal property tax — also known as the “car tax.”
Last year, the Board approved assessing vehicles at only 85% of market value in order to give some relief to county taxpayers. That came after Youngkin signed legislation giving localities express permission to do that, in accordance with the Dillon Rule.
However, the county relies on that money as part of its tax revenue to fund services. In 1998, Virginia passed the Personal Property Tax Relief Act, which dictates that the state should offer car tax relief and subsidize localities for lost revenue owed on the first $20,000 of a vehicle’s value.
But the amount of funding provided to localities hasn’t changed since 2007, and Virginia now provides 20% less relief. In other words, both taxpayers and the county government are getting significantly less money from the state than they did 16 years ago.
After cutting another 15% for fiscal year 2023, which began July 1, 2022, the Fairfax County board is asking to get more money back from the state — a request also made to the governor last year, McKay’s board matter notes.
Youngkin has suggested cutting the car tax entirely, but county officials have expressed some trepidation about the consequences unless the money is reimbursed. McKay said reimbursement might be possible now considering the state’s nearly $2 billion surplus.
“While either the state or county could eliminate car taxes all together, the state should honor its pledge of 1998 to eliminate the car tax while reimbursing local governments for lost revenue,” the letter to Youngkin says. “It is essential and possible, particularly as the state currently sits on a significant surplus, to allocate adequate funding to provide residents with effective personal property tax relief.”
Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw argued that the state can’t truly claim to have a surplus until “the Commonwealth pays its bills…and this is an example.”
“If it doesn’t happen this year with the surplus that exists, it ain’t going to happen next year or the year after that,” he said.
A meet-up of car enthusiasts in Bailey’s Crossroads took a harrowing turn last night when air rifle shots were reportedly fired into the crowd.
The Fairfax County Police Department had officers at a shopping center parking lot in the 5500 block of Leesburg Pike, where a “Taco Tuesday” car meet organized by the group Capital Mischief was taking place.
Around 8:46 p.m., an unidentified person shot what were believed to be BB or pellet gun rounds toward the officers, according to an FCPD spokesperson.
No police officers were hit, but a preliminary investigation indicates that three to four vehicles and one or two people attending the meet were struck, police say.
“They were treated for injuries not considered life-threatening. No FCPD cruisers were struck,” FCPD spokesperson Tara Gerhard told FFXnow.
The officers cleared the parking lot following the shots fired incident.
In an Instagram story, Capital Mischief said the shots didn’t come from anyone at the car meet, but rather, from an apartment building across the street. Gerhard said that hasn’t been confirmed at this point in the investigation.
“We wish that everybody injured heals quickly & any cars damaged are fixed with the proper parties being held responsible,” Capital Mischief wrote. “We appreciate the cooperation & help of the local police in responding and helping the situation.”
H/t to Alan Henney
Herndon will soon be home to two Flagship Carwash locations.
A new location is set to open at the Village Center at Dulles, a shopping center located at at 2501 Centreville Road, according to signage posted at the storefront.
There’s no word yet on when it’s expected to open. Flagship’s website simply says coming soon, and the company did not return a request for comment.
The company already has a location on 632 Grant Street in the Town of Herndon.
The business offers automatic tunnel washes, compressed air, vacuums and other services.
The tenant will occupy a little over 3,100 square feet at the tail end of the shopping center. The center currently has eight tenant spaces available, according to the property owner’s website.
Four cars were stolen early Wednesday morning in the Rose Hill neighborhood, according to police.
The cars were taken near South Van Dorn Street and Franconia Road. A resident reported that a group of men attempted to enter several vehicles in the area around 5 a.m.
But the individuals left he area before police officers arrived on the scene.
Two of the four vehicles were found in Washington, DC. An unidentified number of other vehicles were also entered — all of which were unlocked.
Police published the following surveillance video — taken from a home-based system — in hopes of finding more information.
Here’s how to contact FCPD with information about the incidents:
Anyone with information about this case, or others possibly related, is asked to contact detectives at 703-691-2131. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477) and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers.” Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.
A burglar broke into a Tysons auto dealership to steal the same car twice over 48 hours, according to police.
A 2021 Dodge Durango was first stolen at 4 a.m. on September 12 from the dealership at 1592 Spring Hill Road. The car was later recovered from another jurisdiction and returned to the dealership.
Two days after the initial burglary the same car was stolen again, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“Detectives from our auto crime environment unit have been assigned to this investigation,” said Sgt. Lane Hamilton.
Preliminarily, police believe one individual is behind the burglaries.
There are several auto dealerships located on Spring Hill Road. The police department did not disclose exactly which dealership was burglarized.
A family business that operated for over half a century has sold its Fairfax County car wash locations.
Embassy Autowash sold its five car washes to Flagship Carwash, the latter announced on Monday (May 2).
One is located at 10874 Fairfax Blvd. in Fairfax, and two are in Fairfax County: 6814 Old Dominion Drive in McLean and 6217 Rolling Road in West Springfield.
Over the coming months, the locations will be upgraded and updated under the Flagship brand, the company said in a news release.
“Until then, membership programs will remain status quo for both Embassy and Flagship locations,” Flagship said.
The other two car washes that changed hands are in Manassas and Potomac Falls. While the Manassas location is immediately undergoing renovations, the other four are remaining open presently.
“Flagship has been building our presence in Northern Virginia for years and we look forward to continuing to expand our best-in-class car wash technology and service to the communities in which we serve,” Flagship Carwash President Guy Paolozzi said in a statement.
Embassy Autowash didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Prior to the acquisitions, Flagship had five locations in Fairfax County: one co-located with Chick-fil-A in Vienna, two in Herndon, one in Chantilly currently undergoing renovations, and an Annandale site that’s scheduled to be renovated, according to its website.
Photo via Google Maps
Thefts of auto parts and items inside cars have surged this year.
Last year, Fairfax County police found 1,019 incidents involved larcenies of vehicle parts and theft of personal property inside autos.
Just in the first three months of this year, there have been a total of 1,325 incidents, Fairfax County Police Department told FFXnow on Thursday (March 31).
In response to the uptick in thefts, the police have partnered with the auto repair shop G&C Tire and Auto Service to provide free anti-theft labels, Sully District Supervisor Kathy Sullivan said in a March 30 tweet.
On Saturday (April 9) and May 15, the Chantilly-based shop will install free labels for catalytic converters to track the true owner of the part. It includes a unique code and the URL of a database of owners.
“It will break into pieces if an attempt is made to remove them,” the business says in the Facebook post for the event. “In addition, a fluid that etches into metal is applied to the labels so that even if they are removed, the code and URL will remain clearly readable.”
In a Jan. 28 video, FCPD Second Lt. James Curry described one overnight incident on Jan. 5 where catalytic converters were removed from vehicles from a dealership, resulting in a chase.
“Catalytic converter thefts are common in the early morning hours, and often occur in parking lots where cars are stored overnight or apartment complexes that allow for easy access to thieves,” Curry said.
Police encourage community members to park in well-lit areas and contact their homeowners’ association or property manager if lights are not working properly.
“Always remove valuables, to include car keys, from vehicles and lock your cars,” police told FFXnow. “If you see anything suspicious, please call 911 or our non-emergency number, 703-691-2131.”
Authorities also advise people to hide valuables and not store firearms, garage door openers, or house keys in vehicles.
County resident Desiree Donaldson and her family live next to a school, but sometimes their dogs will bark for no reason. After one incident, her husband checked outside and learned about attempted break-ins.
On March 28, she found that sunglasses were stolen from her car. She posted about the incident on the social media site Nextdoor, urging community members to lock their doors.
“I have a neighbor, that lives about a minute or so away from me and she caught this on camera,” Donaldson told FFXnow. “The same thing happened to her, but her cars were locked and nothing was stolen.”
That resident, Lynn Green, has posted videos of incidents on March 5 and 22 captured by her Ring camera. The first time, her vehicle was accidentally left unlocked. The second video showed two people going to vehicles and trying to open doors of vehicles in the neighborhood.
“I have been walking my [neighborhood] and sharing what happened with anyone who is outside,” Green said in an email. “It is amazing how many people are unaware of what is happening.”
The annual vehicle tax that owners pay Fairfax County based on market prices could lighten many drivers’ wallets this year.
Market values from J.D. Power — the price guide used by the county to determine drivers’ bills — indicate vehicle prices are rising an average of over 33%, Young Tarry, director of the county’s Personal Property & Business License Division, told FFXnow.
The market value of used vehicles increased by about 5% last year.
When Fairfax County unveiled its proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 on Tuesday (Feb. 22), Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk warned that the pending increases may surprise residents, likening it to the area’s soaring real estate prices.
“My daughter is going to be 16, and we’ve gone out trying to find her a car,” Lusk said. “The crazy thing is — the ones that have excessively high mileage are expensive, and it doesn’t make sense.”
The list price of an average used vehicle is an unprecedented $27,569, as of November 2021, according to Kelley Blue Book. That means an individual’s vehicle tax could increase from last year’s fee of $947 to $1,260.
Lusk says the board could find a way to provide relief for residents, possibly by reducing the vehicle tax rate or providing a discount for the upcoming billing cycle.
“I’m arguing…that we we need to adjust it,” he said Friday (Feb. 25).
Currently, most vehicles pay a rate of $4.57 for each $100 of assessed value. That value is based on a vehicle’s make, model and year as of Jan. 1 each year.
The county bases the assessment on J.D. Power’s “clean trade-in” book value for “a vehicle with no mechanical defects and [that] passes all necessary inspections with ease.” That figure is higher than the listed “average” or “rough” trade-in prices, which can be found at nada.com.
Bills will be mailed starting at the end of July through August, with due dates of Oct. 5.
Assessment appeals to the county can be based on body damage, rusting or high mileage. They must be made within three years of the last day of the tax year the assessment covered.
The possible relief could come from up to $80 million that County Executive Bryan Hill left unallocated for the upcoming budget year.
The county will hold public hearings on the proposed budget on April 12-14. The Board of Supervisors is slated to adopt a spending plan on May 10 before it takes effect on July 1.
Reston appears to have become a frequent destination for vehicle part thefts.
The Reston District Station has seen a record 16 thefts of auto parts this year alone, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. Last year, the station reported just two incidents.
Police believe that the target appears to be cars parked in residential areas overnight. Officials note that removing car parts like catalytic converters, wheels, and tires — three apparently sought-after parts in Reston — can take several hours.
“We recognized these incidents have commonalities and continue to explore if they are connected,” a FCPD spokesperson told FFXnow.
FCPD says it continues to investigate these cases and has not ruled out any possibilities. No other information was immediately available.
The department is encouraging residents to use the following measures to reduce the chances of becoming a target:
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times
- Remove all valuables from the vehicle
- Install anti-theft devices
- Park in well-lit areas
- Report suspicious activity in your neighborhood
In January, FCPD also issued a community message on YouTube to educate residents about the issue.
Earlier this year, three men were seen on cameras attempting to steal catalytic converters from a dealership in Springfield.
Police apprehended the men after a high-speed chase. Two of the three men were arrested.
Photo via Jaye Haych/Unsplash