Fairfax City Manager Edward A. Wyatt is proposing a 6 percent increase in property taxes and a 3-cents-a-pack boost in the cigarette tax to help balance a "hold-the-line" $24 million budget for the coming fiscal year.
The proposed budget, to be given a public hearing before the City Council March 15, will require further tax increases if voters do not approve a $6.2 million school bond issue in a referendum April 12. Rejection of the issue would force the city to use operating funds to make needed school repairs, Wyatt said.
He also warned that the years of tax decreases for the city are over, predicting that the real estate tax "will have to be raised somewhat for the next two or three years."
The proposed 7-cent property tax rate increase, from $1.15 to $1.22 per $100 of assessed value, would raise annual taxes by $65 for the owner of a home valued at $93,000.
The tax boost is needed because of increased city costs due to inflation and to make up a $1.5 million gap in the present budget caused by unexpectedly low tax receipts and an overly generous tax reduction by the council last year. Wyatt last year proposed a 5-cent reduction in the property tax rate, which the council increased to 9 cents.
Wyatt proposes increasing city express bus rates from $1.70 to $1.90 per trip, local CUE bus rates from 25 to 35 cents and paying a Metrobus subsidy of $200,000, $50,000 less than Metro estimates it will need to maintain present bus service in the city.