FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA – The final full board meeting in 2021 will include an agenda of district-specific and district-wide proposals. The main focus is on the redistribution of the supervisory board and the school board groups as well as the expansion of tax breaks for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Local electoral district redistribution is required by law every ten years after the US census to ensure fair representation in the event of population change. This only affects the districts of the board of directors and the school committee, but not the districts of the legislature and the congress.
Over the summer, a 20-member Redistricting Advisory Committee was appointed to recommend new proposed cards, and the public was also encouraged to submit their own cards. The committee submitted 24 cards and the public 40 cards for review by the board at a public hearing on November 7th. All 64 proposed cards can be viewed online.
In Tuesday’s session, only a decree adopting new local electoral districts will be decided. The board can accept any of the proposed cards in whole or in part with changes. The board of directors must also consider legal criteria and guidelines when adopting local electoral districts.
Fairfax County currently has nine Board of Supervisors and School Board districts, but state law only allows five electoral districts, or up to 11 districts. The Redistricting Advisory Committee’s own proposed cards include 13 cards containing nine districts, 10 cards containing 10 districts, and one containing 11 districts. The public submitted 19 nine-district plans, 15 10-district plans, and six 11-district plans.
If an ordinance is approved, the district attorney will submit the adopted reallocation plan to the Virginia Attorney General for legalization on December 21, and the reallocation would be completed after state legalization on February 20, 2022. The representatives will end their current terms of office.
As for the Redistribution Advisory Board, the Board has expanded its work to evaluate the county constituency names and report them after March 1, 2022. For the time being, the county employees are recommending that the board keep all current names in Tuesday’s regulatory approval.
More information on the reallocation plans is available online.
Extension of the property tax relief
Another important item on the agenda is a public hearing to expand property tax relief for eligible seniors and people with disabilities, as well as creating an option for tax deferral. Currently, Fairfax County offers real estate and vehicle tax breaks for seniors 65 and over and people with disabilities who qualify for income and property.
The board of directors will consider changing the qualifications of the tax relief program for the first time since the 2006 financial year. The proposed changes would be phased out over two years.
The first changes concern the income and net wealth limits in order to be eligible for tax relief on January 1, 2022. The maximum gross income to qualify for a property tax break (25 percent tax break) is expected to increase from $ 72,000 to $ 90,000. The cutoff for 50 percent tax relief is to be increased from $ 62,000 to $ 80,000. To qualify for a 100 percent tax break, the maximum income would go from $ 52,000 to $ 60,000. In addition to the proposed changes to income eligibility, the net asset limit would be increased from $ 340,000 to $ 400,000.
The other changes are recommended to start on January 1, 2023. A new proposed tax bracket to qualify for 75 percent tax relief would be available for incomes up to $ 70,000. In addition, residents would also have the option to defer tax payments if their household combined has a maximum combined income of $ 100,000 and a net worth of $ 500,000. Deferred taxes would accrue interest at the Wall Street Journal base rate plus 1 percent per annum or a maximum of 8 percent per annum.
More information on the proposed changes to the tax relief is available online.
See the full agenda for the Fairfax County’s Board of Directors dated December 7th.