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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Mutiny That Wasn't

Less than a week after the Board of County Supervisors had a momentous vote adopting the budget and tax rate, Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor Marty Nohe faced what appeared to be stiff competition in a Republican Firehouse Primary. Stiff competition, that is, in the eyes of the Puppet Masters who thought their far-right wing candidates would prove triumphant.
The Puppet Masters are a group of certain bloggers and office holders in the Brentsville District and the western end of the Gainesville District. Names aren't being given as it is pretty obvious who they are. Their goal is an extreme makeover of Prince William County to be a wonderland of extremely small government. This means lower taxes for those who own the wealthiest houses in the county and fewer government services for those who depend on them. The Puppet Masters didn't believe that Corey Stewart and Marty Nohe were Republican enough, scratch that, Conservative enough, so they felt the need to pull off a Dav…

A Win, But the Fight Continues

Bravo to the Board of County Supervisors for approving the Advertised Tax Rate, PWCS Budget, and County Budget. It is the first time in recent memory that the tax rate adopted by the BOCS has been the same as the advertised tax rate. Hopefully this is not, simply, an election year stunt, but a signal of a commitment that will continue to be seen in future years from the BOCS to properly fund our schools and county services as well as compensating employees.

While it was disappointing that Supervisors Candland and Lawson voted against the Tax Rate, PWCS Budget, and County Budget, it is good to see that both of them wish to look long-term to fund class size reductions. Supervisor Principi's $1 million funding proposal for class size reductions passed. While additional funds are important for class size reductions, hopefully these matching funds will not result in unnecessary cuts from the School Board to programs or compensation when finding the $1 million to match in the PWCS budge…

Does Supervisor Pete Candland's Tax Rate Proposal Help Homeowners With a 14% Property Assessment Increase?

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Supervisor Pete Candland has been sounding the alarm of tax bill increases for homeowners. He is concerned because higher property assessments will mean higher taxes. He has noted that some assessments have been going up as high as 14%, particularly for houses of low and medium range value. Furthermore, he has suggested that by focusing on the average tax bill, the reality of tax increases to be paid by homeowners is being ignored where property values have gone up significantly more than the average.

The solution for Supervisor Candland is to adopt a tax rate lower than the advertised tax rate.

The advertised tax rate is $1.122 per $100 of assessed value, lower than both last year's tax rate of $1.148 and the tax rate suggested in the 5-Year Plan of $1.123.

Supervisor Candland's proposal earlier in the budget cycle was a tax rate of $1.094, also known as the 1.3% average tax bill increase. This was a widely-panned proposal by many in the community because of the cuts it would…

What is Being Missed in the Ferlazzo vs. Porter Battle?

All children in Prince William County are entitled to a world-class public school.
A world class public school that is not overcrowded to the point of many classes being in trailers or subjects being taught on carts. 
A world class public school that has small class sizes. 
A world class school no matter the income of the students' parents and no matter where the student lives.
This is what is being lost in the debate over the building of the new Ferlazzo school in the vicinity of the junction of Minnieville Rd and Spriggs Rd.
Residents in the communities near where the new school is to be built believe they are entitled to the new school. Proffers from the developers of their communities would be used to help pay for this new school. Based on approval by the School Board and the Board of County Supervisors, this school was to be built as a community elementary school.
On the other hand, the Porter Traditional School Community also believes it is entitled to the new school. Par…

Tax Rates and Tax Bills and Assessments, Oh My!

As with all budget seasons in Prince William County, there is a ripe discussion about funding priorities versus tax revenues this year. Class sizes need to be reduced, police officers need to be hired, and county services that residents depend on need to be provided. On the other hand, taxes cannot be raised to such a level that cannot be afforded by residents and businesses. 
Unfortunately, the discussion has been clouded by confusion betweentax bills,tax rates, andproperty assessments. Whether purposefully or by accident, these phrases get used interchangeably in discussions by officeholders, residents, and community activists. I know, myself, I have said one thing when I meant the other.
Even Supervisor Pete Candland has gotten in on the confusion act in one of his recent e-mails: "Many of you have reached out to me about the increased tax burden imposed on our homes far above the so-called average tax bill increase of only $139 per year. With assessment increases of 9%, 10%,…