Tuesday, February 23, 2016
For Immediate Release:
- On February 23, City Manager Mark B. Jinks proposed a General Fund Operating Budget of $671.6 million and an All Funds budget of $833.1 million, which represent increases over the current year of 3.46% and 1%, respectively.
- The proposed budget includes a real estate tax rate increase of one cent per $100 of assessed value, or a new rate of $1.053. This will raise $3.8 million towards the projected $5 million cost of increased school enrollment in FY 2017 and the cost to make firefighter and other salaries competitive in the region.
- This year’s budget process continues the approach first used to develop the FY2015 budget, which links spending with the long-term outcomes and core City services Alexandria’s residents want.
- The proposed operating budget includes $206.6 million for the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), or a 3.9% increase over current funding. This represents a $7.75 million increase in funds budgeted for ACPS over the current fiscal year and represents allocation of nearly half of all new General Fund revenue to schools.
- The Capital Improvement Program continues the current $1.6 billion capital investment over the next 10 years, including nearly $266 million for schools.
On February 23, City Manager Mark B. Jinks presented City Council with a proposed General Fund Operating Budget of $671.6 million and an All Funds budget of $833.1 million, which represent increases over the current year of 3.46% and 1%, respectively. This budget includes $206.6 million in operating funds for public schools (a 3.9% increase over FY 2016 funding when a $3.0 million lease cost contingent is included), and invests $1.6 billion over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program.
The proposed budget includes a real estate tax rate increase of one cent per $100 of assessed value, or a new rate of $1.053. This will raise $3.8 million towards the projected $5 million cost of increased school enrollment in FY 2017 and the cost to make firefighter and other salaries competitive in the region. The proposed rate remains significantly below that of all major Northern Virginia jurisdictions for commercial property, and all but one jurisdiction for residential property. Combining the new rate with modest growth in real estate assessments, the average homeowner’s real estate tax bill would increase by approximately $14 per month, or less than 50 cents per day.
"This budget responsibly meets the varied demands of a growing population in challenging economic times." said Jinks. "My proposals reduce certain programs and provide efficiencies totaling $8.3 million, but maintain core programs and infrastructure and add targeted improvements to service delivery."
The balanced budget proposal is consistent with City Council’s guidance and reflects City Council’s Strategic Plan, analysis in the City’s Five-Year Financial Plan, the City Manager’s budget priorities, and extensive input from community engagement meetings and online forums. The budget underscores the City’s investment in its workforce by funding merit increases for employees who earn them through performance, and increasing firefighter and other salaries to remain competitive with neighboring jurisdictions.
Regional competition, low revenue growth, and higher expense pressures have combined with stagnant or reduced federal and state aid to create a substantial budget gap. In the early stage of budget planning, FY 2017 revenues were projected to increase by approximately $13 million, while the cost to maintain current service levels and planned capital funding was projected to increase by approximately $21 million. This did not include the projected cost of $5 million to account for a 3.7% increase in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) student enrollment expected in FY 2017. Meanwhile, Alexandria’s population has increased by 7.5% from 2010 to 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since FY 2009, however, the City has eliminated a net of approximately 115 staff positions and will reduce staffing further in FY 2017 . As local government continues to take on more responsibilities with fewer employees, it has become more difficult each year to identify savings without cutting services.
City Council will hold 10 work sessions throughout the spring to review the proposed budget with City staff; a public budget presentation onat Beatley Library; a special budget public hearing on ; and a tax rate public hearing on . All sessions are open to the public and will be recorded and posted online. The public may submit comments online, or speak at the public presentations and hearings.
The full City Manager's message to City Council, as well as details about the proposed budget, public budget presentation and public meetings, and online comments, are located at www.alexandriava.gov/Budget.
Posted by Alexandria Mom at 6:09 PM