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Fairfax Considers Increase To Stormwater Tax

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Fairfax County is looking to address a growing list of improvements to its stormwater system by raising property taxes.
Camil Tulcan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/camil_t/3352002265/
Fairfax County is looking to address a growing list of improvements to its stormwater system by raising property taxes.

When it rains, it pours. That's why Fairfax County taxpayers may have to prepare for a flood of new taxes next year. Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland says the long list of stormwater improvements needed to meet federal and state demands is creating a flood of financial problems for the county.

"Everything on that list is necessary for us to do, and it's -- if you'll pardon the play on words -- a drop in the bucket," says Hyland.

Outgoing County Executive Tony Griffin is suggesting an increase that would add a penny to the existing stormwater tax, which is at 1.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value. That would create $20 million in new revenue that could be used to handle ongoing flooding problems in Huntington and meet strict new requirements for stormwater treatment from the Environmental Protection Agency.

When Supervisor Michael Frey questioned the authority of the county to have a stormwater tax at a recent supervisors meeting, Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova and Supervisor Peggy Gross jumped in to defend the program.

"It was also, I understand, a unanimous vote at the time when we adopted it," says Bulova.

"At the time it seemed like a good idea. It was a good idea," agrees Gross.

The new tax would raise the average tax bill by $45 a year, although property owners with expensive holdings would pay much more.

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