The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved setting a 2-cent ceiling on any property tax hikes to be included in next year's budget.
Raising the county's real estate tax rate by 2 cents would cost the average homeowner in Arlington an extra $196 annually.
The board also gave initial approval to a proposal to raise several parks and recreation fees, including most children's summer camps and most adult sports leagues. See a complete fee schedule here.
A public hearing will be held March 22 on all tax and fee schedules that will be included in next year's spending plan.
Chairwoman Mary Hynes said the budget discussion would center on making "critical investments in our community."
"Fundamentally, I think this is the year for us to think about how to reinvest -- how to get our capital house in order," Hynes said.
By law, the board must advertise a ceiling to any potential tax increases. They now have limited the amount real estate taxes can increase to 2 cents per $100 assessed value. No other taxes will increase.
The budget proposed last week by County Manager Barbara Donnellan . Donnellan recommended the board set their ceiling at 1.5 cents in order to have flexibility.
But the board went beyond that. Vice Chairman Walter Tejada, who proposed the 2-cent ceiling, said the board had received letters from the community from people who were willing to pay more in taxes. Tejada said a 2-cent ceiling would give the board a "cushion" in the case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Board member Jay Fisette said he would have preferred to see a lower ceiling, but understood the argument about unforeseen circumstances.