Warren County leaders to consider tax hike

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County homeowners could see their tax bills increase if the Board of Supervisors approves a proposed rate increase.

Supervisors plan to hold a public hearing on the proposed fiscal 2018 budget and tax rates at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the government center. The county advertised a tax rate of 65 cents per $100 of assessed value on real estate including mobile homes. The proposed rate would reflect an increase of three cents over the current levy of 62 cents. The board can approve a rate equal to or less than the advertised levy but not to exceed that amount.

Supervisors faced making choices on how to balance the fiscal 2018 budget with increased expenses that didn’t match the revenue predictions. In past years, supervisors earmarked money generated by tax rate increases for specific needs – local contributions to run the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail, schools or other projects.

The three-cent increase would generate $1.21 million in additional revenue. The county needs $1.15 million to open and operate the new middle school in its first year.

If the board approves the rate as advertised, real estate owners could see their bills increase by almost 5 percent. The owner of property valued at $200,000 pays $1,240 in real estate tax under the 62-cent rate. The total annual bill would increase by $60 to $1,300 or $5 extra per month. A property valued at $300,000 generates a bill of $1,860 at the current rate and $1,950 at 65 cents – an increase of $90 over the year.

Property owners in some of the county’s sanitary districts could see their special assessments increase this year. The county proposes the following changes:
• Shenandoah Shores – an increase from $115 to $120 per lot plus 20 cents per $100 of the assessed value on improvements
• Blue Mountain – $65 per lot plus 28 cents per $100 of assessed value on improvements, an increase from 23 cents per $100 of assessed value
• Shenandoah Farms – an increase from $240 to $250 per unproved lot and $275 to $285 per improved lot

All other sanitary district fees would remain unchanged. Sanitary district budgets cover road maintenance, snow removal, administrative expenses, cost-sharing projects through the Virginia Department of Transportation and other needs.

The proposed fiscal 2018 budget calls for spending $73.95 million, including $23.42 million for the public school system. The school system’s operating budget calls for spending $55.09 million.

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