Chesterfield supervisors decline real estate tax increase

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Chesterfield residents -- your real estate taxes will not go up. County leaders decided this afternoon to keep the same tax-rate despite a decline in real estate values.

The current tax rate is 95-cents per hundred dollar. A county report recommended a tax increase of 5-cents. That would even out revenue due to the decline in property values. But Chesterfield supervisors say the county must make do with what it's got.

Four out of five supervisors agreed a tax hike would not be the county's saving grace despite what a county report showed. In the last year, home values have dropped nearly 5 percent. Commercial property dipped down to nearly 6 percent.

In order for the county to generate the same amount of revenue, a 5-cent increase, to a dollar per hundred dollars was needed. Today's decision against that means a loss of $15-million during the tax season. A majority of supervisors said the $55-million shortfall will help the county figure out what staff and services really are needed. The Chesterfield school system was hoping a tax- increase would be advertised. It was banking on county support to keep from making an addition $16-million in cuts.

"Now we're looking at possibly at $42 million, plus still action of the General Assembly, which could cut another $18 million. So we might be looking at $60 million in cuts to school funding, and the supervisors decided apparently it was not a big deal," said Frank Cardella, Chesterfield Education Association.

It's unclear at this time, if the county is going to bail out the schools from making those additional $16 million in cuts, but right now, looking at the numbers there's no money pool to grab from. Now the rate of 95-cents is the advertised rate. It could change from what is actually approved. However, from this point forward, Chesterfield County cannot increase it.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 24 with the final budget approval coming April 14.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.