The Prince William Board of County Supervisors received a budget recap for the $1-billion, fiscal year 2021 budget that was based on a flat real estate tax rate of $1.125 per $100 of assessed value. A flat tax rate means that the rate would remain the same as the fiscal year 2020 tax rate.
At the flat tax rate, the average residential tax bill to County residents would increase by $165 due to increased real estate values, according to County Executive Chris Martino. In February, Martino presented a proposed budget at a real estate tax rate of $1.145 per $100 of assessed value.
Martino said the budget would continue to “provide essential services to the community while also minimizing the impact to the extent possible on our residents and businesses, especially in this unprecedented crisis.”
Martino’s budget recap showed that the fiscal year 2021 budget at the flat tax rate and projected economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic would be $42.3 million less than the proposed budget presented in February.
The County shares its general revenues with Prince William County Public Schools, with the school system receiving 57.23 percent of the county’s general revenues. At the $1.125 tax rate, schools would see a $22.7-million decrease in the amount of funding received from the County compared to the budget proposed in February. The County would see $19.6-million decrease in its general fund budget compared to the budget proposed in February.
In March, Martino proposed $18 million in reductions from his proposed budget that included eliminating pay raises for all County employees, reducing the County’s classification and compensation plan adjustments, reducing staffing plans, decreasing parks field maintenance, and partially decreasing TRIP funds which supervisors use in their districts for infrastructure improvements.
On Tuesday, Martino suggested an additional $7.3 million in reductions that included delaying the start of the classification and compensation plan adjustment from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021, reducing the transfer to the Adult Detention Center, eliminating the balance of TRIP funding for fiscal year 2021, delaying radio replacements, and savings from fuel costs and the County’s community partnership program.
Additions to the updated budget totaling $3.8 million include Community Services programs such as peer outreach-opioid response, intellectual disabilities, and early intervention, and Social Services programs such as homeless prevention, child and adult protective services, child advocacy center, salary supplements for public health nurses and a leased food warehouse.
Some of the initiative that would remain in the budget include technology infrastructure modernization, two full-time presidential election staff, economic development, to aid in the economic recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, public defender’s salary supplements and early voting, no-excuse absentee voting.
The next steps in the budget process is a presentation from the School Board on April 16, and a second public hearing on the budget. The Board will have a budget markup when the board makes any final adjustments to the budget on April 21, and budget adoption on April 28.