The Vienna Town Council unanimously approved a 1 cent cut in the town's real estate tax rate last week.
The council also approved a $10 million budget for fiscal year 1987 that provides a substantial amount of funding for badly needed repairs to the town's aging sewer lines and streets.
The decrease in the town's current real estate tax rate of 33 cents per $100 of assessed value is in response to a 5.8 percent increase in Fairfax County property assessments. Vienna residents pay Fairfax County real estate and personal property taxes, in addition to local taxes, to help pay for services such as fire and police protection, which are provided by the county.
With the new tax rate of 32 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is effective July 1, a homeowner with a house assessed at $121,785 -- the median in Vienna -- will next year pay $389.71, an increase of 2.6 percent.
During this fiscal year, that same homeowner paid $379.50 in local real estate taxes for the same residence, which was assessed at $115,000.
"This is a very workable budget," said Town Manager John H. Schoerberlein, who had earlier asked council members to retain the town's current real estate tax rate. "Even with the reduction of a penny, it has not put us in a position to cut down on any services to residents."
Before the vote to lower the real estate tax rate, council member Rodger W. Seeman predicted that the 15,500-population town will ultimately have to raise its tax rate to compensate for increases in town expenses.
"I don't like dropping taxes if you have to turn around and raise them again," Seeman said after the vote. "We've just got so many big expenditures in the future that we're going to need to raise the tax rate . There's going to be a lot of additional cost in getting the community center addition into operation, the cost of repaving our streets is getting to be quite a bit greater than it used to be and insurance costs for the town are going up dramatically."
Town officials said they expect real estate taxes to net $2.2 million in revenue for Vienna.
The $10 million spending program represents a 9.8 percent increase over the current $9.1 million budget, in part to help pay for street improvements in Vienna's older neighbhorhoods and repairs to its water and sewer lines.
Included in the $2.8 million water and sewer fund is $79,000 for the purchase of a special truck equipped with a high-technology camera, which will enable experts to check underground sewer and water lines for leaks and cracks without tearing up the ground. Schoerberlein also set aside $165,158 to resurface a large number of streets around the town "so we won't have to repave them all at once."
The budget also calls for a 4 percent cost-of-living increase for all town employes, $100,000 for an addition to Vienna's community center and $65,000 to repair the storm drainage system on Audrey's Court.
In 1982, Vienna's real estate tax rate was raised slightly from 31 cents to the 33 cents per $100 of assessed value.