On Monday and Tuesday, more than 125 Manassas Park residents signed a petition asking the City Council for a real estate tax rate reduction.
Manassas Park resident Lisa Abrams presented the request to the City Council on Tuesday night.
“This is so they can see that the people in the city are in unison on this,” she said. “It’s not like there are only three or four people upset over the tax rate.”
Abrams’ neighbor Vickie Mahoney, who helped collect the signatures, said she wishes that she had started circulating the petition before this week. None of the residents she approached refused to sign, she said.
“While I was doing this, I talked to people who have lived here for years who just don’t know how they’re going to pay their taxes,” Mahoney said.
Like the rest of the region, Manassas Park saw a large jump in assessed property values over the past year, with an average increase of 28 percent. City residents are currently taxed at a rate of $1.33 per $100 of assessed value, the highest rate in the region, so the skyrocketing real estate values could translate to far heftier tax bills for homeowners like Abrams, whose property assessment was up by more than 30 percent this year.
In fact, real estate assessments across the region have increased substantially, and many jurisdictions may do exactly what Abrams wants Manassas Park to do — lower the tax rate to minimize the effect on homeowners.
Manassas, Alexandria, Arlington, Prince William, Loudon and Fairfax counties have all proposed real estate tax rate reductions for the coming fiscal year, according to a report compiled by Manassas city staff.
Manassas Park is still at the beginning of the budget process, but Mayor Frank Jones said that lowering the tax rate is one of the council’s biggest priorities.
“A tax rate reduction is something that we want to do, but we haven’t had any discussion yet of what the magnitude will be,” Jones said.
That discussion will likely start next week during the council’s first budget work session, Jones said. The session is scheduled for March 22 at 8 p.m.