Arlington Democratic Del. Warren G. Stambaugh yesterday called on the Republican-dominated County Board to cut property taxes by $3 million so that "taxpayers do not pay twice for Metro."
Stambaugh told a news conference that last week's passage by the Virginia General Assembly of his bill requiring a regional 2 percent tax to be levied on gasoline means Arlington will receive at least $3 million in additional revenue.
Stambaugh said the bill, which Gov. John N. Dalton is expected to sign soon, means the board can cut the property tax rate to $1.13 from its present $1.21 per $100 of assessed value.
The board committed itself last January to an 8 cent reduction in the real estate tax rate to $1.21.
When the board meets Saturday, it can legally cut the rate further but cannot increase it. State law requires that the board advertise the tax rate and hold a public hearing before mailing tax bills to residents. The bills are due May 15.
Stambaugh said his recommended reduction would not be enough to offset the 18 percent rise in assessments in the last years. Residents would still pay higher taxes than they did last year, even if the Stambaugh proposal were adopted.
Board Chairman Walter L. Frankland Jr., who campaigned last year on a tax-cutting platform, reacted angrily to news of Stambaugh's request.
"We don't need any help from Warren Stambaugh in lowering taxes in Arlington County," said Frankland. "No matter how many press conferences he calls, he cannot take away from us the fact that last year the new [Republican] majority cut taxes enough to offset the rise in assessments."
"I don't know what I'm going to recommend Saturday," Frankland said, noting that a tax rate of $1.09 per $100 of assessed value would be sufficient to offset the rise in assessments.