For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Contact: Diana Sun 703-228-3247 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)
ARLINGTON, VA --- A stabilizing real estate market has improved Arlington County’s financial outlook for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, but the County Manager’s preliminary forecast anticipates a combined County/Schools budget gap of $25-35 million, assuming the current real estate tax rate. This compares with a gap of $80-$100 million at this time last year.
“While we are pleased that our real estate market is showing early signs of stabilizing – especially in contrast to the very gloomy picture of the past several years – we must continue to be extremely cautious fiscally,” said Arlington County Manager Michael Brown. “Current revenue projections could require program cuts and revenue increases, in addition to the balancing actions required in the past two years.”
Real Estate Stabilizing
Arlington’s residential real estate market is showing signs of stability, with single family-home values currently predicted to be flat. Prospects for the commercial real estate market are looking up, with commercial lending opening up slightly, compared to last year, and values estimated to be slightly positive. Overall, Arlington estimates real estate assessments could be slightly positive, close to a 1% increase.
Other Revenue Flat
Other revenue sources are estimated to be flat to slightly positive, including meals tax, sales tax, personal property, business license, and other receipts. Revenue from the Commonwealth of Virginia will be down, and federal revenue is assumed to be flat.
Arlington continues to see increased pressures on expenses. Preliminary estimates include higher expenses associated with increased student enrollment, the start-up of new facilities, and salary and non-personnel costs.
The Arlington County Board will give its budget guidance for the FY 2012 budget to the County Manager on Oct. 23. The County Manager will present his recommended budget to the County Board in February 2011.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.