WINCHESTER — City Council will hold a first reading of its proposed 93-cent real estate tax rate for fiscal year 2022 at its meeting tonight in Rouss City Hall.
The current rate is also 93 cents, so it would seem tax bills for Winchester property owners would remain unchanged in the new fiscal year that begins on July 1. However, a recent citywide reassessment saw an overall increase in real estate values, so tax bills would be higher in FY22 if the tax rate stays the same.
For example, the owner of a house appraised last year at $250,000 would have paid a total of $2,325 in annual real estate taxes under the 93-cent rate. However, if the recent reassessments raised that home’s value to $260,000, this year’s tax bill would total $2,418 if City Council maintains the same 93-cent tax rate.
If Winchester wanted to bring in the same amount of money in real estate tax collections in FY22 as it did in fiscal year 2021, the rate would need to be lowered to 89 cents per each $100 of a property’s assessed value. Maintaining the 93-cent rate would bring in an extra $1.36 million in revenues in FY22.
Winchester’s real estate tax rate has risen by 35 cents over the past two decades. In 2000, it was 67 cents per each $100 of a property’s assessed value. It dropped to 58 cents in 2003, but climbed to 63 cents the following year and has gradually increased ever since.
Winchester’s 93-cent rate is 10 cents lower than the median real estate tax rate of $1.03 for all Virginia cities, but is still the highest in the region. Frederick County’s current real estate tax rate is 61 cents per each $100 of a property’s assessed value, while Clarke and Shenandoah counties charge 64 cents and Warren County’s rate is 65 cents.
The 93-cent rate in Winchester would support City Manager Dan Hoffman’s proposed FY22 operating budget of $93,025,000. That’s $2,353,000 higher than the current operating budget of $90,672,000. The higher budget represents a partial rebound from the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and brings the city closer to its pre-pandemic budget total of $93,882,000 in fiscal year 2020.
The proposed 93-cent real estate tax rate is on council’s agenda tonight for a first reading. A public hearing and vote on the rate will take place at City Council’s meeting on April 27, which is the same day Hoffman is scheduled to formally present his FY22 budget request to the panel. A public hearing and final vote on the proposed operating budget is scheduled for May 25.
City Council will meet at 6 p.m. today in Rouss City Hall. The session will also be streamed live at winchesterva.civicweb.net.