One thing could be said about the City of Manassas’ proposed real estate tax rate – it could have been worse.
Mayor Doug Waldron and city council set the tax rate last week at $1.02 for every $100 of a property’s assessed value. City residents have an opportunity to voice their opinions about the tax rate during an April 18 public hearing.
The current rate is $1.15. There had been proposals to lower the rate to $1.05. Others wanted to drop the rate to less than a dollar to compensate for rising home assessments. Still others felt that $1.05 was too low and would hurt local education.
Sometimes it’s good to err on the side of the homeowner/taxpayer. Owning a home, the primary investment for so many, can be very expensive. Increasing taxes often reduce the amount of money that a homeowner can spend on other items.
The proposed $1.02 rate assures city residents of one thing. The rate cannot go any higher. State law allows the city council to lower the rate in the coming days, but that’s it.
City residents with a home assessed at $200,000 would pay $2,300 in real estate taxes at the existing rate. The $1.02 rate would save that home owner $260.
It’s impossible to avoid the need for tax revenue and cutting taxes can hurt some areas of city government. Manassas officials seemed to have found a way to diversify tax revenue to help homeowners. The proposed budget increases the taxes on aircraft kept at Manassas Regional Airport from 1 cent for every $100 of assessed value to 30 cents.
Such a move might bring in an extra $290,000. The downside is that some pilots might take their planes elsewhere … maybe Stafford. But the location of the airport in Manassas is so convenient, that it’s hard to see a tax (one that is paid by all car owners) as a hindrance.
As it is written right now, the $1.02 real estate tax rate for Manassas might not satisfy everyone, but it’s certainly headed in the right direction.