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February 29, 2020

Administrator’s budget proposes 3.6-cent tax hike

I think it’s a fair budget proposal. I realize it requests the citizens to do more in regards to the amount of taxes they’ll have to pay. But, it also allocates all of those taxes to needed services, which is fire and rescue and schools.
— County Administrator Paul S. McCulla
Budget Schedule
• March 3: Supervisors work session, 4 p.m., Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• March 5: Supervisors work session, 1 p.m., Warren Green Building.

• March 12:  Supervisors work session, 1 p.m., Warren Green Building.

• March 17: Supervisors work session, 2 p.m., Warren Green Building.

• March 19: Supervisors/school board joint work session work session, 4:30 p.m., Fauquier High School, 705 Waterloo Road, Warrenton.

• March 19: Supervisors’ public hearing on proposed budget, tax rates and 2021-2025 capital improvements plan, 7 p.m., Fauquier High School.

• March 24: Supervisors work session, 4 p.m., Warren Green Building.

• March 26: Supervisors adopt budget, tax rates and fiscal 2021-25 CIP, 4 p.m., Warren Green Building.

• July 1: Fiscal 2021 budget begins.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier taxpayers this year can expect to dig deeper into their wallets to fund expanded fire and rescue services and the county’s public school system.

Released Friday afternoon, County Administrator Paul S. McCulla’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget totals $357.9 million and calls for a 3.6-cent real estate tax rate hike.

Fauquier’s real estate levy stands at 99.4 cents per $100 of assessed value.

With the proposed $1.03-rate, the annual tax bill for the “average” single-family home valued at $378,000 would rise to $3,893, according to the county administrator.

That would equate to a $136 increase, up 3.6 percent.

“I think it’s a fair budget proposal,” Mr. McCulla said. “I realize it requests the citizens to do more in regards to the amount of taxes they’ll have to pay. But, it also allocates all of those taxes to needed services, which is fire and rescue and schools.”

> Document at bottom of story

The county board of supervisors last year approved a 1.2-cent real estate tax rate increase to fund emergency services positions and to raise teacher salaries. As a result, the average Fauquier homeowner pays about $45 per year more in real estate taxes.

Mr. McCulla’s budget plan calls for additional $27.2 million, up 8.2 percent from this year.

Construction projects, including $15.7 million for the planned expansion and renovation of Cedar Lee Middle School, account for a large portion of that increase. The balance of the $17.5 million school project would be funded in fiscal 2022.

In principal, the board of supervisors earlier this month agreed to an estimated $58.7-million plan that also would renovate and expand Taylor Middle School in Warrenton.

Mr. McCulla’s plan includes $1.7 million to fund 15 new first responder positions. Those jobs would allow the around-the-clock staffing seven days a week at Goldvein Volunteer Fire Department station. The proposed budget also would fund career staffing at The Plains and Lois stations 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

“That’s the next big slug of boots on the ground,” Mr. McCulla said of the new positions. “And hopefully it’s the last big slug that’s going to be requested.”

The emergency services department today employs 127 people, with 117 firefighter/medics who run calls.

Under Mr. McCulla’s proposal, the department’s budget would total $21.8 million, up $2.27 million or 10.4 percent.

“The overarching theme to this budget is that we are addressing the continued need to promote the safety of our citizens,” the county administrator explained. “That has been one of the overarching themes for the last five years.”

Superintendent David Jeck’s proposed operating budget for public schools totals $155.8-million — up 5.1 percent for fiscal 2021.

Dr. Jeck’s plan calls for an increase of $3.8 million in county funding. The local share of education funding would rise 4.1 percent to $96.9 million.

While his plan gives the school system $2.8 million in local money, Mr. McCulla believes it “addresses the school needs, realizing that the state is also allocating additional dollars to the school system.”

State funding would rise 8.2 percent to $52.2 million.

Mr. McCulla’s 2021 budget has funding for 23 new full-time jobs. They include:

• A lieutenant, three captain, three technician II and two technician I positions in the fire/rescue department.

• A community development department planner II position.

• A fleet maintenance department mechanic position.

• A human resources department position.

• An information technology analyst position.

• A sheriff’s office investigator position and animal control deputy position.

• A social services department case worker.

• A treasurer’s office accountant position.

The county administrator’s plan also would eliminate two vacant full-time positions.

Mr. McCulla’s proposed budget includes approximately $1 million for a 1.5-percent cost-of-living and 1-percent merit raises for county government employees.

A penny on the real estate tax rate generates about $1.15 million in revenue.

Fauquier’s proposed fiscal 2021-25 capital improvements plan totals $99.5 million, with an additional $189.4 million designated for “future” years. 

In addition to the Cedar Lee Middle School expansion and renovation, other big-ticket CIP projects include $4 million to extend broadband internet service to Fauquier’s rural areas and $1 million to develop the Rappahannock Station Park, which will feature public access to the river at Remington.

The board of supervisors will conduct budget work sessions March 3, 5, 12, 17, 19 and 24.

Its public hearing on the proposed budget, and capital improvements plan and tax rates will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in the Fauquier High School auditorium. The board expects to adopt both documents and tax rates a week later.

The new fiscal year starts July 1.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.

2021 Fauquier County Admini... by Fauquier Now on Scribd



FY 2021 Proposed Budget Pre... by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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LeeSherbeyn · March 2, 2020 at 1:57 pm
When the last assessment increased, the board lowered the rate some but it still did not lower your taxes from the previous year. The average tax increase was about over 10%. The only way to reduce your tax burden is to attract more businesses to Fauquier. The only way to do that, is to reduce the burdensome bureaucratic regulations and restrictions that are in place to do nothing except slow growth. HUNDREDS of county regulations & ordinances do NOTHING to protect the health safety and welfare of the citizens. They are there to prohibit growth. Businesses are proffered to the extent that after 8-10 years of going through the approval process, If they haven't gone broke by then, they still cannot build what they want, due to the proffers put in place by the board.
farmbum · March 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Same old story year after year...increase services, increase your tax.

We need a better focus on attracting business to this county. The homeowner tax base obviously is NOT keeping up.

jim goodwin · March 2, 2020 at 1:05 pm
Please delete comment by mosesantony2013. It's a spam post.
Truepat · March 2, 2020 at 6:48 am
Time for new representation for the homeowners who are the investors and foundation of any jurisdiction.
Thatguy · February 29, 2020 at 11:06 am
If Fauquier would start developing , wouldn't that help control the increase in taxes? More homes, more shops, more sales tax brought in correct?
Mark House · February 29, 2020 at 10:21 am
Only thing left to do with a cow after you've milked it dry is to eat it.
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