Warren County supervisors to pay higher taxes

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County leaders can also expect their real estate tax bills to go up this year after raising the rate.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on April 19 to increase the levy on real estate from 59.5 cents to 62 cents per $100 of the assessed value. The board also approved a fiscal 2017 budget of $101.7 million. Supervisors voiced reservations about increasing the levy and stopped short of adopting the advertised rate of 63 cents, which would have increased the budget to $102.2 million.

Most property owners saw the value of their real estate increase last year as a result of the reassessment performed in 2014. Supervisors’ property followed the trend and will pay roughly 4 percent more in real estate tax this year, according to information provided by the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office this week. Board members will pay just over $28,000 in taxes.

Fork District Supervisor Archie Fox owns multiple properties assessed at $2.13 million in 2014 and $2.28 million in 2015. Fox’s bill will increase by about $571 from $13,579 to $14,150.

Happy Creek District Supervisor Tony Carter’s property value increased from $529,300 in 2014 to $542,300 in 2015 as of the latest reassessment. Carter’s tax bill will increase by $135 from $3,227 under the 59.5-cent levy to $3,362.

North River District Supervisor Daniel Murray Jr.’s property value increased from $284,000 in 2014 to $312,700 in 2015. Murray’s bill will increase by $77, from $1,861 to $1,938.

Shenandoah District Supervisor Thomas Sayre voted against the 62-cent rate. Sayre already receives a break on his real estate tax bill because a large part of his land is in the special taxation program. Sayre’s property was assessed at $840,000 in 2014 and increased to $880,000 in 2015 going by market values. Sayre’s 45.6 acre parcel was assessed in 2015 at the market value of $516,200 but $80,700 under land-use. Sayre’s dwelling and other buildings not included in land-use taxation were assessed at $363,800, bringing the total taxable value to $444,500. Sayre’s bill will increase by about $111, from $2,645 to $2,756.

South River District Supervisor Linda Glavis owns multiple properties assessed at market values of $985,400 in 2014 and $1.08 million in 2015. Glavis owns a 20-acre parcel with a market value of $110,000 and $8,100 in land-use assessment, giving the supervisor’s properties a total taxable assessment of $980,600. Glavis’ bill will increase by about $245, from $5,835 to $6,080.

The Virginia General Assembly enacted a law in 1971 that allows localities to adopt a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open-space lands. Warren County adopted its program to help conserve such parcels to assure readily available sources of agricultural, horticultural and forest products as well as open space; protect natural resources and water supplies; preserve scenic beauty and promote land-use planning. Parcels that qualify for land-use taxation receive a lower assessment than fair-market value and thus can pay less in real estate taxes for that land. Dwellings and a certain amount of land on which they sit as well as other improvements are assessed at market value.

State code requires a minimum of five or more contiguous, unimproved acres, or six for improved parcels, excluding one acre for a house, for land classified as agricultural or horticultural in the taxation program. The property must have a five-year history of continuous farming before qualifying on the sixth year.

The property no longer qualifies for the program if the use changes or does not meet certain quotas and criteria. When property no long qualifies for the program, the owner must pay the taxes he or she would have owed each of the previous five years if assessed at market value.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com