An unpopular new county athletics fee would be eliminated under a proposal by Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) that the Board of Supervisors will consider Aug. 2.
Frey said a $5.50-a-player fee that will be charged to youth and adult sports leagues beginning this September should be dropped. Instead, he said, the $1.7 million that the fee is expected to generate for community and recreation programs should come from newly identified tax revenue.
The supervisors are moving to increase the county's cigarette tax to 20 cents a pack this year and 30 cents next year. In addition, the board is planning to boost the recordation tax, a fee charged when a property is transferred. The increase would be from $5 per transaction to $8.33.
"This is money we didn't anticipate getting" when the county budget was approved in the spring, Frey said. The budget included the athletics fee, which has been widely criticized by adult and youth sports leagues.
League officials say they will have to raise registration fees or reduce field maintenance to cover the county's new charge.
Frey said the cigarette and recordation tax increases could bring in as much as $10 million during the rest of the current fiscal year, which would be more than enough to offset the loss of revenue from getting rid of the athletics fee.
If the supervisors vote to raise the taxes following a public hearing at the Aug. 2 meeting, Frey said, he will make a motion to eliminate the athletics fee. Frey's plan is likely to run into opposition, however, from supervisors who have said they prefer that the additional revenue go toward property tax relief.
Frey said he will ask leaders of county sports groups to testify at the hearing in support of the cigarette and recordation tax increases.
The leaders have said they are worried the higher fee will discourage kids and adults from participating in organized sports. Frey agreed.
"What we are doing with the fee is so counterproductive," he said, adding that Fairfax is trying to fight a rise in gang activity throughout the county.
"There is not a more successful anti-gang program in this county than youth sports," he said.