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Arlington County Plans to Raise Your Property Tax: Time To Have Your Say

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster

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Mark your calendars for public hearing at the county.
WHEN: March 27, 2008 (Budget) March 29, 2008 (Tax rate) TIME: 7 PM, scheduled (could be sooner if other agenda items end quickly) WHERE: Room 307 #1 Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon BLVD.

What Are The County’s Plan:

1. Your Arlington 2008 real estate tax assessment increases 3.7% from your 2007 tax assessment.
2. Raise your tax rate to .838 per $100 of assessed value. A 6.2% increase over the 2007 tax rate of .789 per $100.

What Does This Mean To You?

Your real estate property tax is made of of two parts. The first is the value of your home (your tax assessment) which varies widely in a county made up of single family homes, townhomes and condo homes. The second, is the rate at which the county taxes that assessed value. Your property taxes is the major source of the local government’s revenue stream.
If the county goes forward to raise these rates, your 2008 property taxes will be going up. If you plan to attend the meeting & want to have a say, you’ll have to sign up before hand. Here are the county’s procedures on how to do that. You can even register online here. If you have any further questions: call the County Clerk’s office at 703–228–3130.
Copy of proposed resolution fixing real estate tax rate for CY 2008 is on file and available for review in Office of Clerk to County Board, Room 300, #1 Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. A copy of the county’s proposed budget- which is driving this tax increase can also be found on the county’s web site.

The Local Governments’ Dirty Little Secret

House on moneyMost of the local municipalities in the area will be raising local real estate taxes in 2008. Many homeowners wonder how that can happen when they are seeing their neighbor’s home for sale sit on the market and ultimately sell for much less than they would have a few years ago and every night the news report about this falling real estate market.
Well– one of the residual effects of the current real estate market is that the local governments are getting less tax revenue. Every time there is a “short sale” property on the market in your neighborhood, that is one less home the local government will be able to tax. And every time that house for sale cuts its price, that is less tax money the local government will collect to support it’s local services.
Even if the local government cuts its budget, it will need to make up for that lost tax revenue somewhere- and that somewhere is mostly from the other homeowners who think that this down-turn in the real estate market is not about them. Because, after all, they are responsible and pay their mortgage on time and every month.
The local government loved the last real estate market when home prices where raising at 15–20% every year. It was a time when homeowners found their tax bill rise just as quickly. The local governments all found a way to use that money. Now it’s hard to stop spending that money.
The other dirty little secret is that most of the counties inside the beltway have shown a rise in average sales price of property. That’s right– a rise. We have such a spotty market– it changes zip code to zip code. Some zip code have seen increase, while others have seen decreases. But…on average, we have seen prices rise.

What’s a homeowner to do?

Our taxes increase in sellers market, our taxes increase in a buyers market. Maybe it is better to rent! Oh wait– rents have gone up more than 30% since 2004. Someone has to pay for a landlord’s tax increase.

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