Proposed FY24 Budget Features Lower R/E Tax Rate & Historic Education Investment

Proposed FY24 Budget Features Lower R/E Tax Rate & Historic Education Investment

On Feb. 28, County Executive Chris Shorter presented his proposed FY2024 Budget, which he based on conversations with County agencies and elected officials; the 2021–2024 Strategic Plan and newly-adopted Comprehensive Plan; Principles of Sound Financial Management; stated Board priorities; and public priorities as reflected in community surveys and other communication channels. Importantly, for the first time in over a decade, it included a Real Estate Tax Rate under $1 ($.977), as we continue to adjust rates downward in response to increased housing values. We also successfully pushed past a prior cap on Business Tangible Computer & Peripheral (aka Data Center) tax rates, advertising this at $2.15.

As I’ve said before, a budget is a statement of our values as a community, and I believe that this one reflects some important priorities for Prince William County, with significant investments in public safety, education, sustainability, social services, and infrastructure. Additionally, as presented, it will enable us to provide $787M to Prince William Public Schools, 10% more than last year’s transfer and the County’s largest investment ever into our school system.  Please visit the FY24 Budget Portal to view the CXO’s presentation and for a deep dive into the budget process, along with a list of ways for the public to be engaged.

Following are additional highlights from the proposed FY24 Budget:

  • Fee-supported Plan review improvements to get commercial applications through the process faster and with more reliable service for our business partners.
  • $17.6M for Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission subsidy to keep our local transit system running.
  • $4.9M for Virginia Railway Express (funded by The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority 30% funds)
  • $1.6M to the Transportation Roadway Improvement Program (TRIP) for districtspecific smallscale transportation improvements.
  • $200k for additional Prince William Department of Transportation staff for a Traffic Safety Engineer (NVTA funded) and a longrange planner to help address our traffic safety initiatives.
  • $400k to fund the Community Safety Initiative (…/princewilliamcounty… )
  • $1.2M to finish out the 7 remaining employees for the Commonwealth’s Attorney: Prince William, Manassas & Manassas Park Staffing Plan.
  • $117k to hire an Energy Program Manager under the Office of Sustainability to help implement the Community Energy & Sustainability Master Plan and County’s Climate Mitigation & Resiliency Goals.
  • $700k generated by the Stormwater Management Fee to address stream assessments, restorations, and retrofits, drainage maintenance & culvert modifications.
  • $7M generated by the Solid Waste Fee. This is to support Landfill Phase IV infrastructure costs & Litter control contractual services to improve litter removal services across the county.
  • $2.6M in operating savings generated by eliminating 32.5 longterm vacancies.
  • $54M in increased investments in employee compensation, including 3% merit increases for the entire workforce, 4.2% for Prince WilliamManassas Regional Adult Detention Center employees, 6.8% for Prince William County Fire & Rescue System, 6.8% for Prince William County Sheriff’s Office (with an additional 1% in FY25), and 6.0% for all general employees (with 2.5% in FY25).

A further breakdown of the proposed tax rates:

  •  Decreasing the Real Estate Tax rate to $0.977 (from the current $1.030); resulting in a tax bill increase of 1%, or $49, for the average taxpayer.
  •  Increasing the Business Tangible Computer & Peripheral (aka Data Center) tax from $1.65 to $1.80. We voted on Tuesday to increase this to $2.15.
  •  Keeping a flat Fire Levy rate of $0.075, which increases the average household’s levy bill by $23. This levy generates A total use of $8.6 million of fire levy fund balance will be used to fund $7.0 million for apparatus/vehicle replacements and $1.6 million for station improvements and renovations.