A decade ago, travelers arriving at Denver’s sprawling new airport would look out over a vast expanse of flat, prairie dog-infested grassland and wonder if their plane had somehow fallen short of its destination. The $4.9 billion airport—at 53 square miles, larger than Manhattan—was derided as being “halfway to Kansas,” and given the emptiness of the 23-mile drive to the city, it felt that way. Last month, arriving visitors boarded the first trains headed for downtown, a journey that zips past a new Japanese-style “smart city” emerging from the prairie before depositing passengers 37 minutes later in a bustling urban hive of restaurants, shops and residential towers that only six years ago was a gravelly no man’s land—an entire $2 billion downtown neighborhood that’s mushroomed up around the hub of Denver’s rapidly expanding light rail system.
Prince William supervisors, school board at odds over budget
The property tax rate in Prince William County remains flat, but the average tax bill is going up. Prince William County Supervisors on Friday approved its fiscal 2017 operating budget. After months of wrangling over whether or not to raise the tax rate by 3.88 percent as outlined in a five-year plan approved last year, leaders kept a flat-tax rate of $1.122 per $100 of assessed property value. The average tax bill for homeowners in the county will be $3,799, an increase of $77 per year. Conservatives argued keeping the tax rate flat will help struggling families in the county better make ends meet. Those who supported the higher tax rate said the county needs to make more investments in infrastructure and government services.
Prince William County Supervisors set a flat property tax rate, Friday, which will cut $7.1 million from the expected school budget for FY17. In a 5-3 vote, the board approved a flat property tax at a rate of 1.122 percent, or $1.122 for every $100 of assessed value. Chairman Stewart; Supervisors Lawson (R-Brentsville), Candland (R-Gainesville), Anderson (R-Occoquan) and Nohe (R-Coles) approved. Supervisors Caddigan (R-Potomac), Principi (D-Woodbridge) and Jenkins (D-Neabsco) opposed.
Prince William supervisors vote to maintain current real estate tax rate
Prince William’s supervisors recently approved a $2.8 billion county budget for the next fiscal year that maintains the current real estate tax rate, but it is unclear what the spending plan will mean for public schools. The financial picture could come into sharper focus Wednesday, when the Prince William School Board meets. But since the Board of County Supervisors voted May 6, opinions on funding for education, which takes up the lion’s share of local spending, have varied. Acting County Executive Christopher E. Martino proposed a budget in February that would have increased the average homeowner tax bill by 3.9 percent. The real estate tax rate would have been $1.145 per $100 of assessed value, up from $1.122, and the county school system would have seen $533.3 million in general fund revenue.
Anderson will push school funding grants
Millions of dollars of funds for Prince William County Public Schools remain up in the air. The County’s Board of Supervisors passed its fiscal 2017 $1 billion budget — more than half of which goes to the county school division to provide majority funding for the education of 87,000 students in its 95 schools. The Board of Supervisors budget left the School Board about $7 million short of revenues it had anticipated getting if Supervisors had set and adopted a tax rate, which would have generated a higher average tax bill for county property owners. Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Anderson pushed a plan to provide nearly $30 million in grant funding from the County to the School Board to make up for the lower tax rate, and funds lost after her proposal to reduce the automatic fund transfer from to the School Board from 57.23 percent of the entire county budget down to 54 percent.
According to Prince William County Schools, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors agreed to provide Prince William County Schools with an additional $3 million outside of the revenue sharing agreement, this past Tuesday. Phil Kavits, Prince William Director of Communications, said the board did agree to provide the funding to the schools, although the details have yet to be finalized. The $3 million would break down to $1 million for class size reduction and another $2 million for the buying of property, should the School Board agree to direct the funds to those purposes.
Purdy scolds administration, resigns from Manassas School Board
Ellen Purdy resigned from the Manassas City School Board six months before the end of her term. Purdy made the surprise announcement a week ago during School Board member comment time during the Board’s regular public meeting. “We didn’t expect that,” said Manassas School Board Chairman Tim Demeria.
It’s been a favorable spring for the Fredericksburg area real estate market. According to a report from the Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors, the total dollar amount sold was up in April, compared to the same month in 2015. The number of units sold and the median sale price were also up over the same time period. This April saw $138,267,056 worth of real estate change hands. That figure was $114,874,142 in April 2015.
State revenues fell 6.7 percent in April compared with the same month a year ago, raising concerns about whether the state would meet its forecast for tax collections in the fiscal year that will end June 30. Total revenues have risen 1.3 percent for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, compared with an annual forecast of 3.2 percent “It’s going to be highly unlikely that we meet our revenue projections,” said House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, who is most concerned about sluggish growth in income taxes collected through payroll withholding — almost two-thirds of state revenues.
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