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Virginia Briefing

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

Supervisors Approve $2.2 Billion Operating Budget

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a $2.2 billion operating budget yesterday that reflects $136 million in cuts and slashes hundreds of dollars off the average residential tax bill.

The board also approved a tax rate of $1.212 for every $100 of assessed value, up 24 cents from the rate now. Because of the sharp decline in residential home values, supervisors said they believe the new rate translates into one of the largest tax breaks -- about $435 for the average home -- in Northern Virginia.

The total spending plan, down 6 percent from that of fiscal 2009, includes an $845.3 million general fund budget, with $407.8 million going to schools. The budget freezes salaries, eliminates about 95 government positions -- most of which are vacant -- and cuts in half staffing increases for the police and fire departments. It also uses $4.8 million from the county's "rainy day" fund.

The budget also keeps about $1.8 million in reserve. Supervisors said they want to use the money to match federal stimulus funds that, if available, would allow them to advance 25 sworn police officers from the fiscal 2012 budget to fiscal 2010.

-- Jennifer Buske

ARLINGTON COUNTY

Board Passes Budget That Increases Tax Rate

The Arlington County Board passed a budget last night that increases the real estate tax rate 2.7 cents and restores some unpopular proposed cuts.

Board members increased the general fund operating budget by $5.4 million over the one for this fiscal year to $946.8 million, officials said. The rate increase will bump the average homeowner's property tax bill from $4,501 to $4,551, based on a new rate of 87.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value, county officials said.

Board members reversed a plan to demolish the Gulf Branch Nature Center and partially or completely restored library hours for three branches. But recreation centers' hours and other services were scaled back, and officials cut 95 positions countywide. All of those employees have found other county jobs or taken voluntary severance packages, officials said.

-- Michael Laris


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