Faced with a $35 million budget gap and an uncertain economic future, Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan on Wednesday recommended a tax increase that will cost the average single-family homeowner an additional $262 in property taxes next year.
Forty-six of the county government’s 3,749 jobs would be eliminated, although only 20 of the jobs due to be cut are now staffed. Employees would lose a paid holiday — Columbus Day — but not the hopes for a pay raise: $3.6 million is still budgeted for raises that come with merit step increases.
Donnellan, who briefed the County Board in advance of its regular Saturday meeting, said she was “very anxious about putting a 3.2 cent [property tax rate] increase in the base budget,” given the county’s high commercial vacancy rates, the threat of major federal budget cuts and stalled property tax values throughout the county. But she said the budget would maintain the services that county residents say they want. The tax rate would rise to $1.003 per $100 of assessed value. The county budget would be $1.07 billion, an increase of about 2 percent.