The Prince William County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously passed a budget for the next fiscal year that will raise county spending by 17 percent and includes large allocations for transportation and schools.

The $157 million budget approved by the board also contains a gift for county residents: a 5 cent cut in the personal property tax rate.

The new rate, the lowest in Northern Virginia, will be $3.95 for every $100 of assessed value. The real estate tax rate will remain unchanged at $1.42 for every $100, which ranks among the highest in the metropolitan area.

A major part of the budget -- $75.5 million -- will go for schools, while $3 million will be spent on transportation.

The 7-to-0 vote capped a remarkably harmonious budget season for the board, which has been known for its fractiousness. The approved package differed little from the one submitted by County Executive Robert S. Noe Jr. last month.

"I'm just very happy with the budget this year," said Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco). "The process couldn't have worked more smoothly . . . . We almost right down the line supported what had been recommended by the county executive."

The board added the cut in the tax rate. "The board wanted to send a signal that the tax rates are stable or they can even come down," said Supervisor Kathleen Seefeldt (D-Occoquan). "It's a result of improvement in the tax base."

County revenue has increased due to commercial and industrial growth, particularly the new Potomac Mills outlet mall in Woodbridge, officials said.

The board yesterday also passed a capital improvements program that called for $136 million to be spent during the next five years for roads, schools and other facilities.