There are a number of Fauquier County homeowners who remain in a state of shock over the recently completed real estate assessments. For about 18,000 homeowners, the assessments increased, typically, 17.75%, from $321,000 to $378,000. For many, such increases did not seem justified by either comparable homes or improvements. Homeowners should note that the County’s Board of Equalization will be sworn in March 15, 2018 and should become active next month to hear assessment appeals.
Assessments are only one part of the tax equation, however. Beginning on Thursday, March 15, 2018, with a public hearing at the Fauquier High School at 7:00 PM, the Board of Supervisors will consider the real estate tax rate along with the County’s two year budget. It is this rate in dollars per $100 of assessed value that will determine what taxpayers will be paying to the County this year. Given the overall assessment increase, the rate would need to be lowered from its current value of $1.039 to $0.94 so that taxpayers would, on average, pay no more than last year. This rate is called the “lowered tax rate.” The County Administrator has recommended a rate of $0.987, which would increase taxes by 5.0% or $393 for the average homeowner.
It will be, no doubt, a mighty temptation for the Board of Supervisors to raise the real estate tax. Government, even the good government we have in Fauquier County, will always want to grow. It is virtually a force of nature. However, such growth should not be put upon the homeowners of the County, who already pay a great deal. The $393 average tax increase suggested by the Administrator would be much better left in the pockets of hard working County residents to spend or save as they may decide. It is their money, after all, not the County’s.
Fauquier Taxpayers Association strongly recommends that the real estate tax not be increased at all. Rather, the Board of Supervisors should continue their good work of increasing both commercial and agricultural development. Both types of development generate more revenue than consumed in services, thus filling the County coffers.
Two sterling examples of such enlightened development include the winning of the OVH development in Vint Hill and, most recently, the Board’s approval of the Remington Technology Park. We need more of this development, not higher taxes. Homeowners are urged to attend and speak their mind at the public hearing and if not able to attend, call or e-mail your Supervisor. Contact information for all Supervisors may be found on the County’s web-site at www.fauquiercounty.gov.
Thomas H. Valk, M.D., Chairman
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