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Pay raises for Alexandria City Police could mean tax hikes for homeowners

Officials say the pay raises could affect real estate taxes in the area.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Question:

Will a pay raise for police officers mean higher taxes for homeowners?

Our sources: 

  • Real estate website Zillow, Jen Jenkins the acting director of human resources and the Alexandria city council
  • A city spokesperson said the starting salary for police officers is $50,839. The union argues Alexandria police are paid less than officers in neighboring jurisdictions.

We can VERIFY that claim is true:

This is true.

One of the highest starting wages we found is in Loudon County where the range is from $53,500 to $70,429

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2020, the average wage for police and sheriff’s officers was $18,980 on the low end and $131,090 on the high end.

But the Alexandria city spokesperson said the average salary of all the officers is $69,290.  According to this city council memo, members plan for a 1.5% pay raise for city employees including police officers. That’s far below the 10% raise the police union requested. But Jen Jenkins Acting Director of Human Resources said in a recent budget proposal that just a 1% raise would cost the city  $3 million and raise real estate taxes.

So, what does that mean for you?

First, let’s consider the current tax rate in Alexandria. The city manager lists it as $1.11 for every $100 of your home’s value.

For example, Zillow lists the average home price as $602,364.

According to the current tax rate, that homeowner pays $6,686.24 a year.

Now, here’s how a range of pay raises for police, fire and other city workers would impact that annual tax bill.

  • 1% raise means taxes increase by $42.16
  • 3% raise is an increase of $120.47
  • 5% raise would mean your bill goes up $198.78
  • 10% raise would be about a tax hike of $403.58  

So, we can Verify: YES – a pay raise will increase your real estate taxes; by how much depends on the raise.

Mayor Justin Wilson said the pay raise still doesn’t fix the current problem of competitive salaries for city government workers. He says that will take years to fix.

RELATED: Alexandria police and fire unions call out recruitment, retention issues and say better pay is the solution

RELATED: Alexandria, Va. police pressure city to raise starting pay

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