Last night, Stafford's Board of Supervisors adopted its Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and Fiscal Year 2023–32 Capital Improvement Program. The FY2023 Budget takes effect on July 1, 2022, and includes a real estate tax rate of $0.85 and a motor vehicles personal property tax rate of $4.49. Before this meeting, the Board of Supervisors did vote to advertise the real estate tax rate at $.885, per the County Administrator's Proposed Budget.
Tax assessments are conducted every two years. Taxes assessed for 2022 increased dramatically due to the volatility of the escalating values in the housing market over the last couple of years. Likewise, car values have risen exponentially due to supply chain shortages and the economic environment.
The Board of Supervisors met the School Superintendent's proposed budget request providing an $8 million increase, one of the largest increases in history. The increase includes a 5% percent pay raise for all school employees, maintains the Bus Driver salary increase supported with one-time funding in FY2022 and finalizes the teacher salary scale enhancements. The Budget also includes several enhancements to public safety, such as two new transport units (12 Fire and Rescue staff), communication officers for the 911 center and eight new Sheriff's Deputies.
Furthermore, the Board authorized a 2.5% water and sewer user fee rate increase. The Utilities Financial Policy requires rates to increase at least 75% of the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers (water and sewerage maintenance), which for Water and Sewage Maintenance was approximately 3.2%. Typical residential bills will increase by approximately $2.33 a month. The Board also increased the Transient Occupancy Tax by 2%, or an estimated $825,090, that collects taxes from hotel and motel stays across Stafford.
As part of the Budget approval, the Board approved the FY2023-32 Capital Improvement Program. The Board emphasized the need for new schools by including a Hartwood Elementary School Rebuild starting in FY2023 and two additional Elementary Schools planned in the next ten years. Other Highlights include the next phase of High School #6 in FY2023; and rebuilds of the Aquia Fire and Rescue Station and Rockhill Fire Station. Additionally, multiple 2019 Major Road Bond Referendum projects will begin this year.
All information on the FY2023 Budget may be found at www.staffordcountyva.gov/budget. The Adopted Budget will be published prior to July 1, 2022.