East-end towns keep tax rates steady

Eastern Prince William County towns will retain their current tax rates for next year thanks largely to increases in assessed values.

Dumfries, Occoquan and Quantico town councils passed their Fiscal Year 2003 budgets last month.

The assessed value of property in the town of Dumfries increased and there also have been taxes gained by new construction, said Town Manager Ron Waller.

Prince William County handles assessments for the towns. The most recent assessment resulted in increases throughout the county.

“There is no tax rate increase because of the increase in assessments,” Waller said.

Last year the town of Dumfries collected $220,000 in real estate taxes. For Fiscal Year 2003, it projects it will take in about $245,328, a 12 percent increase.

Additionally, the town will receive $3,532 from new construction.

The town’s budget, however, will increase dramatically over the previous year, by 81 percent or $2,104,561.

In 2001-2002, Dumfries’ budget was $2,601,396. Next year’s budget is $4,705,957.

About $1.6 million of that increase in the budget is related to a loan the town received in June from the Virginia Resources Authority for a stormwater

management project last month, Waller said. The total amount of the loan was $2 million.

Waller said the balance of the loan will be spent on the project in the following year.

The stormwater management project will include gutter and curb improvements to streets in the Possum Point, Rose Hill, Tripoli Boulevard and Old Stage Coach neighborhoods. The improvements have been called for by town residents for a number of years.

Also included in next year’s budget is a $250,000 stormwater improvement project for the Whitehaven neighborhood that is being paid for in part from a Community Development Block Grant.

“We expect that the town’s Fiscal Year 2004 budget will show a decrease as these projects are brought to completion,” Waller said.

A Dumfries property owner of a home with an assessed value of $150,000 will continue to pay about $186 in town property taxes. The rate remains at 12.42 cents per $100 assessed property value.

The town of Occoquan’s budget will decrease next year by about 1 percent or $5,258. Occoquan’s operating budget was $383,300 last year. Next year’s budget is $378,042.

The decrease is due to a drop of about $4,000 in grounds and maintenance expenses and legal fee expenses. Additionally, the town included $1,000 for the May town election. That expense will not be necessary for 2003, said Claudia Cruise, town clerk and administrator.

Occoquan also enjoyed an increase in assessed value of its property. Real estate taxes collected by the town last year were $40,000. Due to the increased assessed values, the town projects it will receive $41,400 in real estate taxes next year. The additional $1,400 is a 4 percent increase.

The Occoquan tax rate, the lowest in the county, will remain at 5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

An Occoquan property owner of a home with an assessed value of $200,000 will continue to pay about $100 in town property taxes.

The town of Quantico’s tax rate of 20 cents per $100 assessed property value was lowered from 25 cents two years ago and will remain at its current level, said Pete Chavana, town treasurer.

The general fund budget, however, is increasing by 42 percent or $129,203. Last year’s general fund budget was $304,381. The new budget is $433,584.

Chavana described the increase as a “one-year hit.”

“The [Quantico] Town Council wants to do some things that the citizens have been asking for,” Chavana said.

Capital improvements such as an additional basketball court in the town and beautification efforts explain part of the increase.

The town also is funding a full-time and two part-time police officers and a parking enforcement officer.

“Citizens were asking for a beefed up police department,” Chavana said.

Increasing the number of officers will provide better protection for the citizens and businesses, especially during the day.

“When you have officers in the town, the presence really helps out,” Chavana said.

The town is expected to garner a 7 percent increase or $2,000 more due to increases in assessed property value over the previous year. Last year the projected amount of real estate tax revenue was $30,000. This year the town expected $32,000, Chavana said.

A Quantico property owner of a house with an assessed value of $100,000 will again next year pay $200 in town real estate tax under the current tax rate of 20 cents.

Staff writer Aileen Streng can be reached at (703) 878-8010.

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