1. Mayor Tarter,

    Why are our taxes in Falls Church so high and what are you doing to reduce them? Why are we building the most expensive high school in the area? Why does Falls Church City keep building luxury apartments that cost more than 40% of people’s income? But the more pertinent question, why are you fighting for a tax break for the wealthiest and not for those that rent or live in modest houses? Why should our highest earners get a subsidy and not those that need it more?

    I look forward to the Mayor’s response.

  2. The Mayor does not cite the median income of City residents, unless I missed it. I am not sure that is by design or not. What is that figure, so we can put all of this in proper context? The City is one of the highest in Virginia, isn’t it? The Mayor seems to be trying to shift the blame for higher taxes away from City decision makers to the Federal government.

  3. The tax rate is $1.355 per $100 of assessed value which is in the highest in the area by far. It keeps increasing and I don’t think Mayor Tater does a good job of trying to keep costs low at home. Instead he wants the federal government to help him. 4 out of every 10 households in the City has an annual income of $150K+ and the $200K+ income bracket has grown the most dramatically. Between 2000 and 2017, most household growth in the City occurred with households that have an annual income exceeding $200K.

  4. Appears that Tarter is trying to get more tax relief for the rich. Those making less get no tax relief. Go gettem, Major. Always fighting for the little guy?

  5. If the median income is say $150,000 to $200,000 and you can afford to buy a $1.4 million new home (or an $800,000 older home with another $300,000 in renovations), then you can absorb the $10,000 cap on local taxes.

    The Mayor sees an opportunity to shift blame for higher taxes to the Federal government. What the Mayor and his colleagues need to do is look in the mirror and accept accountability themselves for their tax policies that have led to such a high real estate tax rate. Don’t shift the blame. Instead, look for more and better solutions and take action to control and reduce the tax burden. When the Mayor knocks on your door this fall asking for your vote for re-election, challenge him on this. Under his position, folks in Virginia Appalachia and other far less affluent areas should continue to subsidize City and other affluent jurisdictions.

  6. @Dale,

    I totally agree with you. Mayor Tarter needs to look at ways to save money within our district. We continue to lose citizens in the lower income levels because they are taxed out of the city. The tax rate is much higher than neighboring jurisdictions and most people can afford the additional taxes, and will pay them, in exchange for smaller schools. This does not help the lower income family that cannot afford a 2 bedroom apartment in the luxury MUD for clost to $3K/month and they cannot afford a modest house (or find one) since the taxes alone are close to, or more, then $1000/month.

  7. I think one of the factors affecting the lack of movement on this tax rate issue here in FC is the diversity of constituents here. By that I mean, there are a number of residents that have been here a long time and so due to purchase price, their mortgage is very low. Some even have their house paid off all together so for these folks the taxes are actually not a hardship, a situation they have certainly earned. Some of them may even feel, that all things being equal it’s a pretty good deal to be able to live here in this small city so close to DC. There are families with multiple children who believe it is worth it to have the opportunity to send their kids to a small school system but plan to move after the last one graduates. Then there are those that live in apartments and don’t feel particularly impacted by the tax rate one way or the other. And then lastly there is a group of folks that are just on their way out because of the tax rate or whatever. So that is a lot of people that are not pushing to bring the tax rate down. So that leaves the people that don’t fall into those groups, perhaps some of those people comment here. That group might include those that have purchased more recently and have a high mortgage and also fork out over a $1000 a month in local taxes (and perhaps wanted to stick around after their last child graduates) It might include retirees who want to stay and those struggling to make ends meet. I think the reality is that the folks who feel that the tax rate is too high are going to have to speak up more at council meetings, bring on some more pressure to our elected council, support candidates that demonstrate that they actually think that the taxes are too high, and perhaps even run for council themselves because short of that I don’t see local tax relief coming anytime soon.

  8. @Alison, I think you are correct whereby there are multiple groups of people that live in FCC but the schools demand over 1/2 of the budget; many on City Council will say it is less, but when you include the debt that the city pays (capital costs), it is much more than 1/2 of our budget. The schools and people with school aged children demand a lot of services and they will continue to get a larger chunk of the budget. Many people have asked for cost share between the city and schools but City Council has never addressed this scenario seriously. Many people have gone to City Council with suggestions (cost share, less expensive or less adminstrators don’t build a new school, traffic calming suggestions, decrease duplicate departments among the schools/city, etc). I have not seen significant budget savings – just more spending.

    This is a democracy and a large amount of people have kids in schools and will vote in their best interest. Other’s that vote for increased spending may be willing to pay the higher tax amount and can afford to do so. Many can’t and they will be forced to move or make other financial decisions that allow them to stay.

    Truthfully, it’s easier and better to just move to a lower taxed area and let someone else pay for all the debt. City Council and School Boards do this all the time – approve large debt and then let future generations pay for it.

    I remember everyone saying we will get tax relief with all the MUDs that were approved. Where is it? Oh, we have more expenses now so the citizens won’t ever see it. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the city’s recent fiscal impact – it’s due about this time of year. Hang on to your wallet!

  9. Mayor Tarter is asking lower income households to subsidize his expensive Little City. Why should the rest of the country pay for deductions of the high income people in Falls Church City? Taxes in Falls Church City are expensive due to policies he initiated and promotes. Look at home, Mayor. Don’t ask for handouts from people who make less than your average household of $200K a year. We can’t afford to help you. Help yourself.

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