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As You Mull Over Your 2006 Assessment

By now, most Arlington County property owners have received their 2006 real estate assessment notices. The insert that came with the new assessment noted that in 2001, real estate taxes were about evenly split between residential and commercial property. Now, however, the value of residential property is over 60%. Information in a January 5, 2006 PowerPoint presentation prepared by county staff puts that shift into numbers. For example:

Year/Residential Tax Base ($ billion)/Commercial Tax Base ($ billions)
2001/$11.5 billion/$11.9 billion
2006/$30.7 billion/$19.7 billion

Several alternative tax cutting scenarios were also presented: For example, if current real estate tax rates were maintained, residential (single-family and condominium) taxes would increase 21.4% while commercial properties would increase 11.7%. However, a cut of $.07 in the tax rate would result in a 11.7% increase for residential property, but only a 2.8% increase for commercial property. A cut of $.11 in the rate would still leave an increase of 6.2% for residential taxpayers, but would produce a drop of 2.3% in commercial real estate taxes. This probably means that Arlington property owners will not likely see a cut in the real estate tax rates beyond 7 cents. Afterall, the Arlington County Board would not want to give commercial property owners a tax break even though the 6.2 increase for residential property owenrs is still about double current inflation.

Arlington residents will be able to tell the Arlington County Board how much to cut the real estate tax rate at the annual budget meetings on March 28 and March 30. See you then!