Written By: Prince William County
Prince William County Executive Christopher Shorter presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget to the Board of County Supervisors during their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023.
Shorter’s presentation outlined budget priorities, including maintaining the revenue-sharing agreement between the county and Prince William County Public Schools, mitigating the impact of rising real estate assessments, ensuring competitiveness in employee compensation, advancing Board actions and strategic priorities, maintaining county services, and finding opportunities for budget realignment.
Maintaining the County/Schools Revenue Sharing Agreement in the proposed budget means the school system receives 57.23 percent, or $787.1 million, of the county’s general revenue. The revenue sharing with the schools represents a $72.0 million or 10.1 percent increase from FY 2023 funding. In addition to the revenue sharing agreement, funding for the class size reduction grant is maintained, as well as current funding for community safety officers at elementary schools.
“The proposed budget addresses the strategic priorities for Prince William County, including an increased emphasis on employee compensation and other important initiatives. It also aims to provide tax relief to residents by lowering the tax rate to counterbalance the rising value of local real estate. The Board will continue to work on both these items, and this week’s presentation is only the beginning of the budget process,” remarked Chair At-Large Ann Wheeler. “Over the coming weeks, there are opportunities for community engagement, including a Virtual Community Meeting on March 4, as the Board deliberates on potential changes before it is adopted on April 25. I look forward to rigorous discussions from the public and my colleagues on the dais.”
(Register for the March 4 Virtual Community Meeting: https://www.pwcva.gov/…/FY2024%20Budget%20Calendar.pdf)
It invests in the health and well-being of county residents by funding facilities such as the Crisis Receiving Center, which will provide treatment services for those experiencing mental health and substance use crises, a Homeless Navigation Center, which will provide wrap-around services for those experiencing homelessness in our community, and the Juvenile Services Center, which will provide services for youth court-ordered into secure and non-secure custody. It also supports community partner organizations with a five percent donation increase.
The proposed budget also provides funding for assistance to small businesses and resources supported by development fees to improve plan review times for non-residential cases and maintain inspection services due to increasing workloads. It also invests in our environmental conservation and sustainable growth efforts to support and implement the Climate Mitigation and Resiliency goals in the Community Energy and Sustainability Master Plan, supports stream restorations and drainage improvements, and invests in the landfill’s capital infrastructure to increase its capacity by more than 35 years as well as increased litter control services.
Transportation remains a top priority for county residents and businesses as progress continues on mobility projects approved by voters during the 2019 mobility referendum. The proposed budget addresses smaller-scale mobility projects, like sidewalks and trails, and includes a new traffic safety engineer to improve safety measures throughout the county.
To keep communities safe and secure, the proposed budget invests $0.4 million in the Community Safety Initiative to bring county agencies and the community together to address safety in the county through collaboration and a proactive focus on prevention, intervention, and diversion. It also funds the Commonwealth Attorney’s Staffing Plan for $1.2 million.
The proposed budget is funded at a reduced real estate tax rate of $0.977 per $100 of assessed value, down from the current tax rate of $1.03. The fire levy rate remains unchanged at $0.075 per $100 assessed value. Based on these rates, the average residential real estate tax bill increase is $72, which amounts to $49 from the real estate tax and $23 from the fire levy. The proposed budget also increases the personal property business tangible computer and peripheral tax rate by $0.15 to $1.80 per $100 of assessed value; however, a rate of $2.15 will be advertised for discussion purposes by the Board during budget deliberations.
Residents have multiple opportunities to participate in the budget process, including the following:
Virtual Community Meeting – March 4, 9 a.m. (Register: https://www.pwcva.gov/…/FY2024%20Budget%20Calendar.pdf)
Budget Work Sessions – March 7, 14 and 21
Budget Public Hearing (evening) – March 21
Prince William County Schools Budget Presentation (evening) – April 4
Budget Recap (evening) – April 11
Budget and Tax Rates/Fees Public Hearings (evening) – April 11
Budget Markup (evening) – April 18
Budget Adoption (evening) – April 25
The link to the budget calendar and the Budget Q&A app can be found on the county’s website at pwcva.gov/budget.