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Arlington County's Real Estate Tax Rate Headed Past $1?

The Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey reported today the county's real estate tax rate is "likely to rise above $1 for first time in a decade." According to McCaffrey's online report:

"Arlington’s residential real estate tax rate could bump up higher than $1 per $100 assessed valuation for the first time since 2001, after County Board members compromised Feb. 23 to advertise a rate 5 cents higher than last year’s.

"The 5-cent increase in the advertised tax rate was 1.8 cents more than sought by County Manager Barbara Donnellan, who has proposed a record $1.07 billion fiscal 2014 budget.

"With only four County Board members on the dais – Chris Zimmerman being ill with the flu – the meeting appeared for a time headed to a standoff between board members Mary Hynes and Jay Fisette, who wanted to advertise a 4-cent rise in the tax rate, and Libby Garvey and chairman Walter Tejada, who wanted a 6-cent hike.

"In the end, they split the difference. “Five [cents] is a very good compromise between four and six,” Garvey said."

The County Manager recommended a 3.2 cents per $100 of assessed value increase in the real estate tax rate as part of her proposed FY 2014 budget, which she presented on Saturday. The 6 cents increased may well have been a response by the two Board members to the recommendation of the so-called progressive group known as Arlington New Directions Coallition (ANDC) -- see "letter from the public" posted on the Board's agenda item 20.A. of its February 23, 2013 meeting. You can watch or listen to yesterday Board meeting through access at this page. The press release issued after the Board's meeting yesterday is here.

We growled about the Manager's proposed budget after she briefed the Board last week, and we expect to be growling a lot more after an initial look at the budget document itself.

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