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Chairman McKay-Addressing Rising Tax Assessments

Feb 25, 2022

February 25, 2022

To the Fairfax County Community,

Many of you have begun to receive your real estate tax assessments in the mail. Across the County, assessments have skyrocketed, adding to the financial stresses experienced by our homeowners, particularly as the pandemic strained our economy across the globe. Home values across the country have gone up significantly. This is not only a localized challenge. Some of our homeowners have seen assessment increases as high as 25% this year, with an average increase of 9.57%.

While the Board of Supervisors does not determine tax assessments, I know the alarm this causes in our community. I can tell you that I will be strongly supporting reducing the tax rate to offset some of this impact.

I've shared a bit of information below regarding the assessment process and steps you can take if you feel that your property has been inaccurately assessed. I have also included information on our senior tax relief program that, on my motion last year, we expanded to make more of our residents eligible.

Again, one of my top priorities for our FY 2023 budget is to reduce the tax rate to offset the impacts these high assessments have on our residents' financial wellbeing. Our County Executive's proposed budget is a good start, recommending a flat tax rate. However, we know there is still much work to be done until we have a balanced budget that meets the needs of our community.

It's important to remember that the County Executive submits a budget proposal that the Board of Supervisors amends based on public input. We don't adopt a budget until May 10, 2022. I believe we can reduce the tax rate and still address recruitment and retention strategies for our County agencies hardest hit throughout the pandemic. Our front line workers -- including FCPD, Fire and Rescue, social workers, mental health specialists, and so many more -- have all sacrificed so much during this unprecedented public health crisis.

Still, I recognize that even with a tax rate decrease, some of our homeowners will be impacted by these assessments. I'm pleased our Board supported my motion to expand our tax relief program for our seniors and people with disabilities. The Department of Tax Administration (DTA) also provides reductions or tax deferrals for both real estate and personal property tax when certain circumstances apply. You can find more information on tax relief here.

I look forward to engaging with our community further in the months ahead as we refine our FY 2023 budget. Check out the County's website for more information on the budget process timeline.
Tax Assessments: What You Need to Know

Understanding your Real Estate Assessment Notice
How is my assessment determined?
Residential properties are assessed by analyzing recent comparable sales data, adjusting for differences, to determine fair market value of an unsold property. These annual assessments are determined using computer-assisted appraisal techniques. To learn more about this process, check out the video above (also available on YouTube).

Will this affect the amount of taxes I pay?
Each year, the Board of Supervisors sets a tax rate. Real estate assessments are not set by the Board of Supervisors. The Board has the ability to reduce the tax rate to offset increases in taxes driven by rising real estate assessments, and I can assure you that I will be working with my colleagues to make that happen.

Why Tax Real Estate?
Real estate taxes account for more than 67% of our budget. The Board for years has worked with the General Assembly to push for more flexibility on how localities can generate revenue and maintain local authority. More fiscal freedom would allow us to move away from reliance on regressive real estate taxes. Although we made some progress on that front lately, we know there’s more to do.

What if I disagree with my assessment?
Homeowners who feel that their real estate has been incorrectly assessed can file an appeal with our Department of Tax Administration.
DTA recommends that you first contact one of the County's staff appraisers to discuss your assessment. You can make an appointment, send an email, or call (703) 222-8234.
Appeals should be based on fair market value, lack of uniformity, or errors in the property description.
Once an appeal has been filed, DTA staff will work with the property owner to schedule an inspection of the property. Staff will then use any additional information found during a physical inspection alongside a review of market sales to reappraise the property.
If after this reappraisal you feel that your property has been incorrectly assessed, you are able to file an appeal with the Board of Equalization of Real Estate Assessments.
New County Leadership

Reasa Currier with Gandalf the Rabbit
Please join me in extending a warm welcome to the new Director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, Reasa Currier.

Currier started her Directorship with the Animal Shelter on Jan. 31 and has worked in animal welfare for most of her career, most recently at the D.C. region's Humane Rescue Alliance where she served as the Vice President of External Affairs.

Reasa is taking the reins at an exciting time for our Animal Shelter, as the department looks to re-ignite the shelter's volunteer program this summer and open a second shelter in Lorton next year. Her focus on organizational change management and public policy will be an incredible asset as we continue to progress our animal services work to meet the needs of all our residents -- both humans and animals alike.

Thomas G. Arnold, newly appointed Deputy County Executive
After a months-long process reviewing candidates and seeking stakeholder feedback, I'm pleased to announce that, last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors appointed Thomas G. Arnold as the new Deputy County Executive for Public Safety. I am confident that he has the vision and dedication to our residents required of this position as the County continues to be a national leader for public safety.

Deputy County Executive Arnold takes this new role after 21 years with Fairfax County's Fire and Rescue Department. Joining as a firefighter in 2001, he's had a distinguished career, working his way up the ranks and serving as deputy chief since 2020.

As Deputy County Executive, Arnold will oversee the Police Department, Fire and Rescue, Emergency Management and Security, Public Safety Communications, and the Department of Animal Sheltering. He will also work closely with our Sheriff as they coordinate on our many public safety initiatives.
BRT Brand Unveiled

BRT Branding Event, Feb. 25 2022
What Happened? Today I joined our County and regional transportation agencies to unveil the brand identity for our Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Introducing: The One. This state of the art BRT system, which includes pedestrian and bicycle facilities, represents part of a $1 billion investment into the Route One Corridor. This will be the largest dedicated-lane bus system in Virginia!
The One will run from Ft. Belvoir up to the Huntington Metro Station, connecting major employment centers, retail, and residential communities.
BRT systems such as The One are designed to be fast, reliable, and more convenient than traditional bus routes.
The One will work to connect our vibrant communities up and down the Route 1 corridor and help our ongoing revitalization efforts along the highway.

Vaccine Resources:

Schedule your vaccine appointment via Vaccines.gov.
For the latest on the vaccine, information can be found on the websites of the Center for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Fairfax County Health Department.
Fairfax County's vaccine progress can be seen here.
An FAQ for the public can be found here and an FAQ for healthcare providers can be found here.
Call FCHD's vaccine hotline at 703-324-7404 (Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am-5pm).

COVID-19 Resources:

Fairfax County Health Department
To view the number of cases in Fairfax County this page is updated at noon daily.
Visit the County site on COVID-19, Health Department Website, and see their FAQs.
To view multilingual health materials visit the County's Language Portal.
Sign up for text message alerts: text FFXCOVID to 888777. Para inscribirse, textear FFXCOVIDESP a 888777.
Call the Health Department from 9am-7pm weekdays and 9:30am-5pm on weekends: 703-267-3511
Email: ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov. This account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm.
Inova has a helpful FAQ.


Jeff McKay

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