Prince William County officials have been debating the FY17-21 budget for many months. On April 19, the Board will be hearing two presentations – one by Supervisor Candland and the other by Supervisor Principi – and then engaging in general budget mark-up.
In crafting his proposal, Supervisor Frank Principi has been meeting with the seven dedicated residents who make up the Woodbridge District Budget Workgroup. The product of these meetings is a balanced, five-year budget proposal. It reduces initially the proposed property tax increase from 3.88% to 2.60%, bringing the proposed tax rate from $1.145 to $1.131
Supervisor Principi’s proposed budget also cuts approximately $7M in spending and reduces both the proposed tax increase and tax rate. In addition, an effort was made to keep the schools whole by creating a matching $3.5M teacher retention supplement. This was done by suggesting the elimination/refinement of a tax exemption (the Use Value Assessment, designed to assist active farms but now no rarely serving that purpose) that would impact some 700 parcels (potentially beginning in FY18, as it would require a legal opinion and public hearing).
We recognize that there are some components included in the proposal that are not ideal and, under better circumstances, would never be considered. However, the alternative would result in an even more dramatic change in County policy and additional cuts, including the privatization of several essential services. Please do interpret any of the cuts as an indication that Supervisor Principi or the members of the workgroup do not support a given funding entity or protection of the Rural Crescent. However, the resistance to the 3.88% increase needed to fully fund the commitments originally is impassable. Instead, Supervisor Principi is presenting a proposal that offers real compromise to keep this County moving forward on several essential fronts.