Tax man cometh


The Alexandria City Council has paved the way to consider raising the commercial real estate tax rate next year by approving the ordinance that allows them to do so.

We are making no decision about increasing the commercial tax rate at this time, said Mayor Bill Euille. If we are to even consider such an increase during our budget deliberations, however, this ordinance must be in place by Jan. 1, 2008. We are simply preserving our options.

The ordinance would allow the city to increase the commercial real estate tax rate by up to 25 cents per $100 of valuation next year. Currently, the residential and commercial rates are the same, 83 cents per $100 of assessed value. When the Virginia General Assembly passed the regional transportation bill last year, separating the residential and commercial rates was among the options given to Northern Virginia jurisdictions. So far, Fairfax County and Arlington County have raised their commercial rates by ten cents.

Julie Crenshaw Van Fleet spoke against the ordinance. Please defer this matter until you can hold public hearings and get some real input from the business community, she said at Saturdays public hearing. You say you want to become a more business friendly city but this is not the way to do that.

The mayor has appointed a committee to study the issue of separating the two rates and raising the commercial rate. That committee is expected to report to Council and make recommendations in early spring, in time for it to have an impact on budget deliberations.