Property tax rates were much higher in Manassas Park than in any other Northern Virginia locality in 1980 and varied substantially across Northern Virginia and the state, according to a recent report by the Virginia Education Association.
The owner of an $80,000 home in Manassas Park paid an estimated $1,656 in real estate taxes in 1980, easily the highest figure for any city or county in the state, the study showed. Residents of Cumberland County, a largely rural county west of Richmond, paid the lowest property taxes -- only $104 on a home of equal value.
Tax figures in the study were based on estimates of true market value. Property taxes are acutally based on assessed value, which is generally lower than the market value.
"There's a wide disparity of tax effort across the Commonwealth," said Ralph J. Shotwell, director of school finance and research for the Virginia Education Assocation.
Four other Northern Virginia areas ranked in the top 10 for taxes on a $80,000 home in 1980: Prince William, in third place at $976, Fairfax County, fourth at $960; and Alexandria and Fairfax City, tied for eighth at $928. Other local jurisdictions included Manassas City at $888, Loudoun County at $800, Arlington at $768 and Falls Church at $736.
Cities rounded out the top ten in Virginia, with Petersburg at $1,056, Richmond at $1,048, Norfolk at $944, Roanoke at $936, Hampton at $928 and Newport News at $912. "That reflects the high cost of government services you have in your cities and metropolitan areas," Shotwell said. "You get what you pay for."
Counties joining Cumberland at the bottom of the list were Rappahannock at $152, Prince Edward and Buckingham at $208 and Lancaster at $216.
Although the tax rate of $2.07 per $100 of property value in 1980 was high in Manassas Park, the per capita value of locally taxed property there was estimated at only $13,446 in 1980, the lowest of any Northern Virginia area.
Falls Church, where the 1980 property tax rate was the lowest in Northern Virginia at 92 cents per $100, had $46,411 in real estate per capita, the highest of any Northern Virginia jurisdiction, according the state report used as the basis for the VEA study.
When the full value of locally taxed property was tallied, Fairfax County led Virginia counties and cities with $22.3 billion in 1980, up 22 percent from 1979 and almost double the 13 percent increase for the state, according to the VEA study. Arlington's locally taxed property increased slightly more in estimated true value -- 24 percent -- to $6.6 billion, which placed it third and behind Virginia Beach, according to the report.