Arlington City Council Takes First Look at Proposed $552 Million FY22 Operating Budget
By Ryan Hunt, Managing Editor, Office of Communication
Posted on August 05, 2021, August 05, 2021

The Arlington City Council took its first look Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the proposed $552 million Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget, which includes a recommendation for a property tax rate reduction for the sixth year in a row, and slight increases for residents’ water rates, the garbage collection rate and storm water fee.

Proposals for next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, include investments in public safety, information technology, the implementation of the Unity Council recommendations, and support for Arlington’s award-winning parks and recreation amenities. This includes new playgrounds and money to make sure parks services are available for low-income residents.

The budget, which the Council will vote on in September after a series of public meetings, also includes $7.2 million to restore key services, $200,000 for more LED streetlights and $2.3 million for generators. Federal funding from the recent American Rescue Plan is also helping Arlington overcome the negative economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arlington is also proposing to lower its property tax rate for a sixth consecutive year. The City Council will consider whether to reduce the City’s property tax rate, which is currently $0.6225 per $100 of assessed value, to $0.6198 per $100 of assessed value. This change will result in tax savings for some residents.

The Arlington City Council is expected to reauthorize a variety of residential property tax exemptions, including the largest homestead exemption by state law of 20% of the property value. The City also offers a senior tax freeze as well as $60,000 exemptions for those who are over 65, disabled veterans and disabled persons. Exemptions are also available to surviving spouses of U.S. Armed Forces members and first responders who are killed in action. Seniors over the age of 65 in Arlington may also be eligible to defer payments.

Arlington's proposed budget and business plan is built around supporting the City Council's six priorities: Build Unity, Champion Great Neighborhoods, Support Youth and Families, Invest in Our Economy, Enhance Regional Mobility and Put Technology to Work. Proposals include investing $54 million in road maintenance, $169 million in public safety, $21 million for parks and $9 million for libraries.

Arlington strives to provide quality services and amenities to its residents, visitors and business community at the lowest possible cost. In addition to a slight 3% increase to the City’s water rate for the coming fiscal year, Arlington also proposed a modest increase to the garbage collection rate and an increase to the stormwater rate by 50 cents.

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