Loudoun County and, by extension, the Town of Middleburg are proposing to increase property tax levies. This results from an increase in property value assessments controlled and assessed by the County.
A combination of inflation and a ten to 25 percent increase in property values from 2020-2021, per Loudoun County assessments, has resulted in this proposed increase. At this time, the increase being considered by the County will be at least two to three percent, with some households being assessed more.
The Town Council is proposing to either keep the current tax rate unchanged or lower the current tax rate, depending on the final fiscal analysis of the Town and input from the community. This is an effort to protect property owners from paying onerous tax increases in a short period of time. Pursuant to Code of Virginia Section 58.1-3321, a Public Hearing on the increase will be held on March 24, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at the Middleburg Town Office located at 10 West Marshall Street in Middleburg, Virginia. This public hearing supersedes the previously advertised public hearing.
“This increase is imposed by the County and not related to the separate discussions on building a new Middleburg Town Hall building which would house the town council and its offices as well as offering community-focused rooms,” according to Danny Davis, Town Council Manager.
Davis indicated that the average tax bill for single-family homes assessed at around two to three percent increases. The total assessed value of real property, as of January 1,
2022, according to Loudoun County, excluding additional assessments due to new construction or improvements to property, exceeds last year’s total assessed value of real property by 15.13%. As a result, a $650,000 assessed single-family home could go up around $53, while townhomes have increased value at a more aggressive rate resulting in potential tax bills of an additional $136 per year.
These discussions have been ongoing, beginning with the February 10 county council meeting on revenues and the February 24 meeting, which featured a revenue discussion and budget presentation. You can see these discussions by visiting http://www.middleburgva.gov/Town-Meetings.
According to Davis, the Virginia State code can be confusing because even though the tax rates are not increasing and may actually be reduced per town council discussions, the state code mandates that the tax increases must be advertised in the local newspapers and presented to the public town council hearings. The first announcement of this meeting was prominently advertised in Loudoun Now on February 17.
According to the Virginia state code, the announcement of this public hearing must appear in the county newspaper in at least 18 point type and take up one-eighth of a page in any section except the legal notice/classified section.
Initial conversations in the community have included discussions by the finance committee on how some property owners may be unable to pay these taxes. At this point, no specific proposals have been made to alleviate this potential situation. This is being discussed in separate meetings, including a findings committee meeting.
The Council is considering dropping the town rates to build in the inflationary factor. It seeks to strike an appropriate balance between all revenue streams, including the tourist taxes levied on restaurant meals and hotel stays.
The Town of Middleburg proposes to adopt a tax rate of no more than $0.153 per $100 of assessed value. The difference between the lowered tax rate and the higher proposed tax rate would be $0.0201 per $100, or 15.12%. This difference will be known as the “effective tax rate increase,” even though the tax rate is not increasing. However, individual property taxes may increase at a percentage greater or less than the above percentage.
For more information, you can link to http://www.middleburgva.gov/budget for the budget document, presentation, etc. Questions may be directed to the Town Manager at 540-687-5152.