Written By: What’s Up Prince William
On Tuesday, March 2, 2021 the Board of County Supervisors voted on an Advertised tax rate of $1.125 consistent with the County Executive’s proposed FY22 Budget. I made a statement that although I would vote for the County Executive’s advertised rate, I did not support the included Computer Peripheral Tax rate of $1.60. Later during my Supervisors’ Time, I presented a resolution requesting an Initiation of a Public Hearing on expanding the Data Center Opportunity Zone Overlay District, (DCOZOD). Prince William County is sick. Our residents are suffering as well as our businesses. This Board will need to make tough decisions on “would likes” and “must haves”.
Increasing ou near high voltage power lines County wide will bring a huge increase of revenue, and we can once and for all increase our Commercial Tax base to the 35% approved in our Strategic Plan. We could then lower the Real Estate Tax Rate lessoning the residential burden especially in these COVID-19 times. Instead of a one-year influx of monies at a .25-cent Computer Peripheral Tax increase over last year, extending the DCOZOD would create a stable increase of commercial taxes over a period of 20 plus years. We could have the world class school system our citizens deserve, create new agencies that have been requested by some of my fellow Board members and reduce the Real Estate Tax to our residents.
Times such as these call for leaders to make bold decisions. I made this one with the best intent for every citizen of Prince William County and unfortunately, my counterparts did not agree with me. Again, our county is sick, and there are only two cures to healing us and they are vaccinations and diversifying revenues. Vaccinations are currently ongoing, and we have always known the solution to increase our revenue stream are data centers. I have been speaking with Supervisors, staff and the Data Center Industry to bring a solution to our budget issues that would provide a more balanced tax burden between the residents and our commercial base. We can no longer function under the assumption that seven districts operate independently. Each of us are responsible for our district constituents, and all of us are accountable to the residents of Prince William County. We will never be “One Prince William” until each Board member realizes this.
For the past three budget cycles, County staff and the Board of County Supervisors have agreed to an incremental increase to Data Centers that would bring our County in line with our NOVA counterparts’ Computer Peripheral Tax rate. EVERY time we have gone back on our word. This is the wrong message we want to send to our data centers and any other commercial industry that is currently located in Prince William County or looking to relocate here.
We can do better than this.