County Board Advertises No CY 2021 Base Real Estate Property Tax Rate

Published on February 20, 2021

  • Cites hardship of COVID-19 pandemic on residents

  • Advertises proposed increase in dedicated Stormwater tax rate

The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to advertise no increase in the Calendar Year 2021 base real estate property tax rate, citing the toll the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is taking on residents.

The Board also voted to advertise a proposed Stormwater tax rate of 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed real property value to fund the full cost of operations and planned capital improvements to the County's stormwater infrastructure and flood mitigation.

"The pandemic has been hard on Arlington," County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. "Our residents and our businesses continue to deal with the fallout. The Board believes what we need now is a continued focus on responding to COVID and a budget that meets the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community. The Manager proposes closing the $26 million budget gap through targeted cuts and efficiencies, elimination of 56 vacant positions, and thoughtful, restrained use of one-time funding. That is a good starting point, given the challenging year we face and the important prospect of federal assistance, for the Board's deliberations over the coming seven weeks."

The base real estate tax rate for CY 2021 will remain $1.013 per $100 of assessed value.

If the advertised rate for the dedicated Stormwater tax is approved by the Board, it would rise from 1.3 cents to 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed value. The estimated annual impact for the average household with an assessed home value of $724,400 is $123. This includes an increase of $29 for the increased Stormwater tax rate. The Sanitary District tax is billed twice a year along with the property tax. The funds can only be used for stormwater-related purposes.

If adopted, the increase would be the first to the Stormwater tax rate in a decade.

"Arlington has seen the damage that flooding can cause. The Board recognizes that we must act to improve resiliency. The increased Stormwater tax rate, if adopted after consideration over the coming weeks, would generate $1.6 million more for the County's Stormwater Fund in FY 2021, and $3.2 million in FY2022," de Ferranti said. "That money would help fund much-needed stormwater infrastructure projects approved in our FY 2021 Capital Improvement Plan to protect our residents and improve our resilience in the face of climate change."

The County is engaged in a multi-year effort to upgrade, repair and replace Arlington's stormwater infrastructure to reduce flooding and property damage and to comply with increasingly stringent state and federal stormwater quality regulations. The Stormwater tax rate increase, if approved, would bring the total stormwater program budget for FY 2022 to $15.1 million. These funds may only be used for stormwater purposes.

Arlington voters approved a $50.84 million bond referenda in November 2020 to fund near-term projected needs for stormwater infrastructure improvements. Their approval providing the authority to issue bonds to fund stormwater projects in FY 2021 and FY 2022 and key projects that will be built over several years. The proposed Stormwater tax rate increase, if approved, would fund the debt service on bonds that would fund:

  • Walter Reed Elementary School underground stormwater detention facility, in collaboration with Arlington Public Schools

  • Spout Run watershed capacity improvements

  • Lubber Run watershed capacity improvements

  • Ballston Pond watershed retrofit

  • Four Mile Run dredging, in collaboration with the City of Alexandria

  • Dumbarton culverts

The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax rate at 7 p.m. on April 8, 2021. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing may register on the County Board website starting Thursday, April 1, through 8 p.m. the night of the hearing. You can find more information on Budget and Tax Rate Public Hearing procedures here.

Learn more about the County Manager's Proposed FY 2022 Budget on the County Website.