The Arlington County Board voted unanimously yesterday to cut the county's 1985 real estate tax rate by 2 cents, a reduction made possible by a projected surplus and a substantial increase in commercial tax revenues.

For the first time, Budget Director Mark Jinks said, revenue from commercial properties such as the high-rise office buildings that dot Arlington's skyline will be more than than from single-family homes. But because the commercial properties include some large residential rental complexes owned by businesses, he said, residential taxes still provide the county's largest source of funds.

The county's real estate tax rate will fall from 97 cents to 95 cents per $100 of assessed value, maintaining Arlington's reputation for having the lowest real estate tax rate in the metropolitan area. Most of its other tax rates also are the lowest in the region.

Although the tax rate was cut yesterday, homeowners still will pay higher tax bills because assessments have increased an average of 6.6 percent over last year's. The assessment on the average single-family home, set at $116,594 last year, increased to $124,335 this year and will result in a $1,181 tax bill, about $30, or 4.4 percent, higher than last year.

County Board Chairman John G. Milliken said that yesterday's cut will enable the county to "strike a balance between the desire to reduce taxes for people who live here and the increasing demands for more services, improved services."

Anna Lee Berman, director of the county's department of management and finance, said real estate taxes will account for $86 million, or about 40 percent, of the$219 million general fund included in the proposed 1986 budget of $260.9 million. The general fund is sustained largely by local taxes.

Of the $8.9 billion in real estate on the county's 1985 tax rolls -- a 12.4 percent increase over last year -- $4.2 billion is in commercial property and $3.9 billion comes from single-family homes and town houses. That represents an 18 percent increase in commercial property and an almost 8 percent increase in single-family residential property over last year.

When the $779 million in condominium real estate is included -- almost a 6 percent increase over last year -- residential properties still slightly exceed commercial properties. But the gap is narrowing.

"It certainly is changing greatly," said Board Vice Chairman Mary Margaret Whipple of the expanding commercial tax base. "It's what helps make it possible for us to have very low tax rates and still serve the people who live here and work here." Real Estate Tax Rate Cut In Arlington Higher Assessments Bring More Revenue By Nancy Scannell Washington Post Staff Writer

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously yesterday to cut the county's 1985 real estate tax rate by 2 cents, a reduction made possible by a projected surplus and a substantial increase in commercial tax revenues.

For the first time, Budget Director Mark Jinks said, revenue from commercial properties such as the high-rise office buildings that dot Arlington's skyline will be more than than from single-family homes. But because the commercial properties include some large residential rental complexes owned by businesses, he said, residential taxes still provide the county's largest source of funds.

The county's real estate tax rate will fall from 97 cents to 95 cents per $100 of assessed value, maintaining Arlington's reputation for having the lowest real estate tax rate in the metropolitan area. Most of its other tax rates also are the lowest in the region.

Although the tax rate was cut yesterday, homeowners still will pay higher tax bills because assessments have increased an average of 6.6 percent over last year's. The assessment on the average single-family home, set at $116,594 last year, increased to $124,335 this year and will result in a $1,181 tax bill, about $30, or 4.4 percent, higher than last year.

County Board Chairman John G. Milliken said that yesterday's cut will enable the county to "strike a balance between the desire to reduce taxes for people who live here and the increasing demands for more services, improved services."

Anna Lee Berman, director of the county's department of management and finance, said real estate taxes will account for $86 million, or about 40 percent, of the$219 million general fund included in the proposed 1986 budget of $260.9 million. The general fund is sustained largely by local taxes.

Of the $8.9 billion in real estate on the county's 1985 tax rolls -- a 12.4 percent increase over last year -- $4.2 billion is in commercial property and $3.9 billion comes from single-family homes and town houses. That represents an 18 percent increase in commercial property and an almost 8 percent increase in single-family residential property over last year.

When the $779 million in condominium real estate is included -- almost a 6 percent increase over last year -- residential properties still slightly exceed commercial properties. But the gap is narrowing.

"It certainly is changing greatly," said Board Vice Chairman Mary Margaret Whipple of the expanding commercial tax base. "It's what helps make it possible for us to have very low tax rates and still serve the people who live here and work here."