Letters to the Editor: April 2 – 8, 2015
Will City of F.C. Tax Rates Ever Stop Escalating?
On top of an 8 percent assessment increase in 2014 and a 6 percent increase in 2015, I am now facing a potential tax rate increase to $1.345? This means I will pay over $9,100 in property taxes alone for the 2016 fiscal year (plus the stormwater fee).
I believe we are at a point where the community and its leadership needs to assess the long-term financial viability of maintaining an independent police/school/library/municipal government structure for Falls Church. I understand that we are supporting our highly ranked schools. However, the real estate tax disparity far exceeds any academic distinction between our schools and those of neighboring jurisdictions. I expect that successful graduates of Washington and Lee, Yorktown, McLean, or Marshall high schools have the same opportunities as George Mason High School grads. Arlington County has three brand-new high schools, more course offerings, publicly accessible pools, etc. Fairfax is completing a complete renovation of Marshall High School just blocks from George Mason. And how much will the proposed renovation/replacement of George Mason High School add to the tax rate? Will we be hitting $1.40 or $1.50 in four to five years?
I believe we would maintain our sense of community if we were to be part of a larger, more efficient jurisdiction. We would still have our neighborhood schools, Cherry Hill Park, the farmer’s market, and our predatory towing practices. We would gain economies of scale, access to a larger library system, and a sustainable level of taxation for all our residents.
Arlington’s real estate tax rate actually decreased by one cent, from $1.006 per $100 of assessed value to $0.996 for calendar year 2014. Fairfax’s rate is $1.09. Alexandria’s rate is $1.038. Ours is $1.305 and rising.
Will there ever be a time where our tax rates stop escalating?
F.C.’s Tax Strategy Is Not Sustainable In the Future
With regard to the proposed increase in property tax of 4 percent, I say enough is enough already. The steady increase in taxes every year since I moved here in 2008 has perplexed me. I cannot understand why the water sale and the tremendous increase in the number businesses that have been brought into the City of Falls Church does not cover the increase in operating costs over this time period. Instead, it appears that most of the burden is shifted back on home owners every year. In the long run, this will result in only families with kids moving to the City of Falls Church during school years and then these families will move away as soon as their kids complete school.
The City of Falls Church will have a very hard time attracting single people and people without children as home buyers to help cover operating costs. This is not fair to fixed income residents either. This taxation strategy is not sustainable in the future. I believe this will lead to even more requirements to continue to raise taxes every year. The City of Falls Church needs to maintain a diversity of residents to help pay for the school system and other operating costs.
Enjoyed Lasso Article on Mustang Mosaic
I enjoyed reading The Lasso article “Trampling on Tradition” last week. It was my class of 1967 that donated the marble mosaic of a Mustang embedded in the hallway floor outside the library as our class present to then George Mason Jr.-Sr. High School. The tradition to not step on it must have been started in the early 70’s as it was not a tradition the first couple of years after it was installed. The only tradition at the time was to ring the class bell (a gift from the class of 1966 I believe) after receiving your diploma at graduation. When George Mason was renovated about 15 years ago, I informed Principal Bob Snee of the Mustang, and he made sure it was not covered over as a new floor was installed.
It is appreciated by alumni to know that the mosaic represents school and community pride, it goes back 48 years and I hope it keeps on going.
Class of 1967
George Mason High School
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