April 11, 2007
After nearly two hours of discussion and debate, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors set the tax rate at $.68. That rate is a 6 cent reduction from last year.
"I favored keeping the rate at $.74," said Supervisor David Slutzky.
"There was a number of people, myself included, that would have liked to see a lower rate," said Board Chairman Ken Boyd.
Simply put, it was a numbers game. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors planned to finalize next year's budget tonight, but after two hours of tax talk, could only set a rate. Half the board wanted a rate of at least $.70 while the other half wanted a significant cut. The end result was a $.68 rate.
"It's not a cut from last year. It still represents an increase from the amount of money we have to spend. It is not as much as some people would have like to seen," Boyd said.
"It's a tough spot to be in when you create expectations in the mind of the public and then you choose to cut the tax rate in a way that you can't fund them," said Slutzky.
In earlier discussions, the Board had already lowered the rate from $.74 to $.70. For a median priced home of $320,000, that meant a $128 difference. Two more cents means an additional 66 dollars in homeowners pockets. However, with the average assessment rising 30 percent in the past two years, Boyd says it is hardly a cut.
"We've got a lot of people in this community who live on fixed incomes, who are property poor. They have owned their homes and their land for years and their property taxes have risen to a point where they are finding difficulty paying the taxes on it. I thought it was time to give them a break," he said.
To gain more revenue, the Supervisors approved a $10 rise in the car decal fee. And while the tax rate is set, now Supervisors will work to see how they are going to cut an additional $3.2 million from their spending plan.