Prince William Budget Proposals: 1 Holds the Line, Next Funds More Police
– April 22, 2014 11:00 am
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – There are two very different budget proposals on the table for Prince William County.
The first, released last week by Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland, who says the county’s current tax rate of $1.126 is enough to fund the needs of county government.
The rate is 5.4% lower than the advertised tax rate officials agreed upon earlier this year at $1.158 per every $100 of assessed property value. The advertised rate would not be able to be increased in the required time it takes the county to pass a budget, but it can be lowered.
“The dramatic increase in taxes on Prince William County families that some on the Board of County Supervisors want to impose at as high a rate as 5.5%, is simply unfair and unsustainable. The recently mailed property tax assessments clearly demonstrate that low-to middle-income wage earners will be disproportionately hurt by this tax rate because the assessment increases hit them the hardest. Homes with assessed values between $300,000 and $500,000 are seeing assessed values as high as 10% or more, and that will dramatically increase the average tax bills above even the 2.5% set in the approved budget,” said Candland.
Candland says his budget proposal also funds the construction of two libraries — in Montclair and Gainesville — which were approved by voters during a 2006 bond referendum.
But others on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors say there are other unment needs that amount to more than just libraries. They include more police officers and fire and rescue crews.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi says his budget proposal, released this morning, will do just that.
“Due to the budget cuts over the past few years, we have accumulated more than $40 million in critical unmet needs. Many of our economic indicators are showing improvement; housing values are rising and new homes are being built, companies are again hiring and expanding operations, and the employment rate is trending downward. The time is now for our elected leadership to begin adequately funding schools, public safety and programs for those suffering from mental illness,” said Principi.
Here’s some of what his budget proposal includes:
$3,103,140 for the Police Department to hire an additional 20 new sworn officers.
$2,460,000 for the Fire Department to hire an additional 20 new firefighters.
$500,212 for the Community Services Board for Mental Health Adult Outpatient Services.
$1,115,000 to match the School Board’s investment to lower class sizes.
Principi stated Prince William fire and rescue crews are not meeting the demands of responding to house fires and other emergencies within the
required targeted time frame of under four minutes. More funding would help them do that, he says.
The Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. in Woodbridge for their budget markup session, the last meeting prior to the Board approving a final budget and ratifying it for adoption.