The Leesburg Town Council is set to adopt its fiscal year 2022 budget and tax rates this week.
As it currently stands, the council is looking at an 18.33-cent per $100 of assessed value real estate tax rate. That is just below Town Manager Kaj Dentler’s proposed 18.4-cent tax rate, the same rate as the current fiscal year. The lower tax rate is due to a $60,000 reduction in the General Fund proposed by the council at its last mark-up session. The deleted line item was a placeholder for lease money and other expenses related to leasing office space for the mayor and Town Council. Instead, the council has directed Dentler to look for space within town-owned property, though that may mean displacing other town staffers.
If the council adopts the 18.33-cent rate, the average residential taxpayer will see a lower bill, by roughly $3 monthly, compared to adopting the 18.4-cent rate. However, due to a more than 8% jump in residential assessments, taxpayers should still expect slight tax bill increases over last year. At the 18.33-cent level, single-family homeowners will see a tax bill increase of $84 annually on average, or $7.03 monthly; townhouse owners a $50 annual increase, or $4.21 monthly; and condominium owners a $13 annual increase, or $1.21 monthly.
To lower the tax rate by a full penny, the council would need to find $881,250 in General Fund reductions.
Though it does not have an impact on the tax rate, the other change proposed by the council two weeks ago involves accelerating storm drainage improvements at Lawson Road near Tuscarora Creek. That capital project, originally not set to kick off until 2026, will instead begin design work this summer. The acceleration of that project means the delay of the phase two downtown street lights project. It also means a $57,000 increase in the Lawson Road project cost, due to expected increases in construction costs, according to a staff report. That increase is set to be funded with general obligation bonds.
Both budget changes proposed by the council were done via non-binding straw votes, so the changes are not final. The council will hold its final mark-up session tonight, and will host a public hearing on the tax rate during its Tuesday night meeting. Budget adoption is expected tomorrow.