Written By: Prince William County
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors adopted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget during its meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. The FY24 Budget starts July 1, 2023, and advances the county’s strategic priorities by investing in education, health and wellbeing projects and programs for the most vulnerable, public safety staffing and initiatives, support of local businesses, environmental and sustainability initiatives, the county’s multimodal transportation network, as well as the county’s workforce. The adopted budget also funds debt service and technology operating costs derived from the county’s Capital Improvement Program.
The Board of County Supervisors adopted a real estate tax of $0.966, which equates to an average residential flat tax bill for residents in FY24. This rate is 1 cent lower than the proposed rate of $.977 and 6.4 cents lower than the current FY23 rate of $1.03. The adopted budget increases the business tangible computer and peripheral tax rate from $1.65 to $2.15 per $100 of assessed value.
Each penny on the tax rate is $8.9 million to the general fund – $5.1 million to Prince William County Public Schools, per the County-Schools Revenue Sharing Agreement, which provides the schools with 57.23 percent of the county’s general fund revenues, and $3.8 million to the Prince William County government general fund.
The FY24 Adopted Budget lowers the fire levy rate from $.075 to $.072 per $100 of assessed value. It also includes an increase in the Stormwater Management Fee of approximately $3.42 or less per household per year, as well as an increase in the Solid Waste User Fee of approximately $5 or less per household per year, which will help fund the infrastructure costs to increase the life of the landfill for an estimated 35 more years. This will be the first change to the Solid Waste Fee since it was adopted in 1998.
“This Board has been committed to diversifying the county’s tax base, and we are seeing the results of that with this budget, allowing for us to invest in our community and our workforce while providing residents a flat tax bill for the first time in 14 years,” remarked Chair At-Large Ann Wheeler. “This was the year the Board focused on strengthening our internal workforce and moving the county’s strategic priorities forward, and we achieved that with the budget adoption.”
The adopted budget includes market value adjustments for employee compensation to address critical vacancies and ensure compensation remains competitive with the Northern Virginia region. The Board adopted a 6 percent market adjustment for all general government, or civilian, positions, and a 15 percent adjustment for sworn/uniformed personnel in Fire and Rescue, the Adult Detention Center and the Sheriff’s Office, as well as a 15 percent increase for Public Safety Communications telecommunicators. The Board approved a 17 percent adjustment for sworn/uniformed personnel in the Police Department in January 2023. The budget also includes a 3 percent step/merit increase.
The adopted FY2024 budget also provides construction funding for several of the parks referendum projects, approved by voters in 2019, and invests resources in vital services within each goal area of the county’s strategic plan, including:
Health, Wellbeing & Human Services: The adopted budget includes funding for essential human services, and community partner organizations are supported with a 5 percent donation increase. The five-year plan invests in facilities such as the Crisis Receiving Center, which will provide treatment services for those experiencing mental health and substance use crises, the Homeless Navigation Center – East, which will provide wrap-around services for those experiencing homelessness in the community, and the Juvenile Services Center, which will provide services for youth court-ordered into secure and non-secure custody.
Quality Education & Workforce Development: The adopted budget will result in a 12.7 percent increase over FY 2023, or $90.8 million, in the school transfer to Prince William County Public Schools. Funding for the class size reduction grant is maintained, as well as current funding for community safety officers at elementary schools. An additional $1.1 million will be provided to Northern Virginia Community College to support its early college programs and workforce development programs.
Resilient Economy: The county continues its support of small businesses by providing assistance as they recover from the pandemic and funding for the Mason Enterprise Center, which provides one-stop information for small businesses seeking assistance. The budget also includes additional positions, funded by development fees, to improve plan review times for non-residential cases and maintain inspection services due to increasing workloads. Also in the FY24 Budget is membership to the NOVA Economic Development Alliance to support regional brand awareness and marketing, and a coordinated regional approach to business development and lead generation, as well as funding to market and promote the 2025 LPGA Solheim Cup, which will be hosted in Prince William County in the fall of 2024.
Transportation & Mobility: The FY 2024 budget includes $21 million for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) commuter and local bus service, which is a $7.9 million increase from FY23 and is funded by the county’s motor vehicle fuel tax revenue. The budget also maintains the county’s local subsidy to the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), as well as the Transportation Roadway Improvement Program, which constructs smaller-scale district projects, such as sidewalks, trails and safety improvements.
Safety & Secure Community: The FY24 Budget funds the implementation of the county’s new Community Safety Initiative, which includes four new positions with a proactive focus on prevention, intervention, diversion and other evidence-informed strategies and data and community engagement to identify priorities and focused action plans. The budget also completes the Commonwealth’s Attorney three-year staffing plan, adding seven new positions in FY24 for a total of 24 positions over three years, and includes an increase in the salary supplement provided to the Public Defender’s office from 15 percent to 25 percent. It also includes financing and operating costs for the newly acquired firearms training facility, and funding for a new renovation and rebuild program for existing stations with the county’s Fire and Rescue System. The budget includes funding for three positions and operating costs for the Animal Services Center veterinary clinic.
Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Growth: The budget also includes funding for the Energy Program Manager to support and implement the Climate Mitigation and Resiliency Goals in the Community Energy and Sustainability Master Plan, which is expected to be approved by the Board later this year. The budget includes increased investment in watershed projects to improve water quality and stormwater infrastructure to address state and federal mandates, stream assessments, restoration and retrofits, and drainage maintenance and culvert modifications. It also includes additional funding for landscaping and litter control throughout the county, as well as funding for a reforestation program.
For more information about the budget, visit www.pwcva.gov/budget.