Provided by Prince William County
The County Executive presented the Fiscal Year 2021 Proposed Budget to the Board of County Supervisors this week. The proposed budget advances the board’s strategic plan priorities, maintains the county and school system’s revenue sharing agreement, caps ongoing operating expenditure growth at 3.5 percent, and funds the second phase of the county’s classification and compensation study.
Schools and State Mandates
The proposed budget also includes funding for the state-mandated Children’s Services Act, in which the county must provide education for children with special needs. It also includes mandated contributions to the Virginia Retirement System. The two mandates together will cost the county an additional $9.0 million.
In addition, the proposed budget provides nearly $646 million in funding to the school system. That is nearly 6.5 percent more than provided to the schools last fiscal year. This maintains the revenue sharing agreement between the county and the schools where the county transfers 57.23 percent of general revenue to the school system.
With regards to the board’s strategic goals, the County Executive proposed additional funding for economic development programs to help with the robust economy goal. To help achieve the mobility goal, the proposed budget includes subsidies for PRTC and VRE, as well as funding for the design phase for three of the mobility referendum projects – Devlin Road Widening, the Minnieville Road-Prince William Parkway interchange and the Old Bridge Road-Route 123 interchange. These design costs will be covered through the funding received from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
The proposed funding for the police and sheriff staffing plans, as well as a fire engine staffing for Station 22, helps advance the board’s safe and secure community goal. Proposed funding for the well-being goal includes a three percent increase for all of the county’s community partners.
Also included in the proposed budget is funding for elections including the 2020 presidential election, increased contractual and operating expenses, field maintenance, security measures for county facilities, and employee compensation.
As part of the budget process, the Board of County Supervisors must advertise tax rates to the public. The advertised rates provide the parameters as to what funds may be available as the board deliberates on the budget. The board can ultimately adopt a lower rate than the advertised rate, but they cannot adopt a higher rate.
The advertised real estate tax rate of $1.17 per $100 of assessed value the board voted on was 2.5 cents higher than the $1.145 proposed by the County Executive. Every penny added to the proposed $1.145 tax rate raises an additional $6.5 million in county tax revenues. At a rate of $1.145, the average real estate bill would be $4,432 annually, an increase of $242. That would raise the average house payment by about $20 each month. The current real estate tax rate is $1.125.
The board also voted to advertise a $33 motor vehicle licensing fee; the current fee is $24. Additionally, the board advertised a motorcycle licensing fee of $20; the current fee is $12. Those proposed increases would bring in an additional $3.5 million in county revenue.
Additional Taxes and Levies
The proposed budget includes a $.05 increase in business tangible personal property taxes for computer and peripheral equipment, to bring it to $1.30 per $100 of assessed value. The board’s advertised rate for computer and peripheral equipment is $1.35. The board also advertised a $3.70 personal property tax rate on boats and trailers.
The county’s fire levy would remain at $.08 per $100 of assessed value.
Chair Ann Wheeler indicated that an increased tax rate would allow the county the opportunity to begin to address the unfunded requests from the schools, as well as those that were provided as part of the County Executive’s presentation.
Steps Before Final Budget is Adopted
There are a number of steps to complete before the board adopts its final budget. The board is scheduled to receive public input and hold work sessions and public hearings through the end of April.
- On Saturday, Feb. 22, a community meeting will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The county’s Management and Budget Director will review the Proposed Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and the proposed budget.
- Wednesday, March 4, there will be a Planning Commission CIP work session at 6:00 p.m., where the planning commissioners will receive the proposed CIP.
- March 10 and 17, the supervisors will hold budget work sessions during their 2:00 p.m. meetings, which will cover specific areas of the proposed budget and/or CIP.
- March 31, the Prince William County School Board will present its proposed budget to the Board of County Supervisors during the county board’s 7:30 p.m. meeting.
- On April 14, there will be a recap on the proposed budget during the board’s 2:00 p.m. meeting. There will then be a public hearing on the proposed budget at the 7:30 p.m. meeting.
- April 16, the board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget during their 7:30 p.m. meeting.
- On April 21, during the budget mark-up session at 7:30 p.m., the supervisors will determine any final changes they would like to make to the budget.
- The budget is scheduled to be adopted on April 28 during the board’s 7:30 p.m. meeting.
Most meetings will be held in the Board Chamber at the McCoart Administration Building, 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge. The Planning Commission meeting will be held in the Potomac Conference Room of the McCoart Building.
Information about the proposed budget can be found at pwcgov.org/budget, along with the complete proposed budget document.