Alexandria City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2011 Budget
- Property tax rate increased 7.5 cents; rate set at 97.8 cents per $100 of assessed value
- Alexandria City Public Schools transfer increased $3.3 million, a 2.0% increase
- Transit subsidy for WMATA increased by $1.6 million, a 26% increase from last year’s General Fund amount
- General Fund Operating Budget is $531.6 million, an increase of 0.3% from Fiscal Year 2010
- Public safety, transit cuts restored
Seeking to maintain core City services, education, and Metro funding despite challenging economic conditions, the Alexandria City Council voted 5-2 to adopt a $531.6 million General Fund Operating Budget for the fiscal year (FY) beginning July 1, 2010. The calendar year 2010 real estate tax rate of 90.3 cents was increased by 7.5 cents to 97.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. This rate includes 0.5 cents dedicated to stormwater management projects instead of a separate stormwater utility fee. The average homeowner’s taxes will increase by $125, or 2.9%. The City’s real property tax rate remains one of the lowest in Northern Virginia.
“We asked our residents to weigh in on the challenges our City faces, and they didn’t let us down,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “They let us know on the Web, during public hearings, via e-mail and telephone, and on the street. We listened to them, and the budget we approved tonight reflects their input, including their concerns about public safety and transportation. This budget process affirmed that City government and residents can come together in tough times to make a difference, and that we must continue to work together to overcome the challenges ahead.”
Items approved by City Council include:
- Addition of two new, peak-time medic units and five medical staff in the Alexandria Fire Department
- Restoration of two Community-Oriented Police positions
- Reinstatement of $100,000 to the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) to retain service on the AT4 route
City employees will also receive a merit step increase in FY 2011, at a cost of $3.4 million. The Council added an additional step at the end of the pay scale, so that all employees would be eligible to receive a merit increase next year. The merit increase, the first since FY 2009, will help offset increases to health insurance premiums and help retain a highly skilled workforce. There have been no market-rate adjustments for employees since 2008.
The largest increase in the FY 2011 budget is dedicated to the Alexandria City Public Schools. The transfer of funds to the Schools will increase $3.3 million, a 2.0% increase over the FY 2010 budget.
New fees and service cost increases include:
- Allocation of 0.5 cents of the property tax increase to pay for stormwater sewer infrastructure, providing $2.3 million for FY 2011 projects
- A parking meter rate increase to $1.75 per hour, which generates $1.15 million
- A $5 increase for residents who receive City trash and recycling collection services (fees will be used to purchase larger recycling bins to increase recycling rates and improve convenience and service)
The taxpayers’ cost to fund the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) continues to increase annually. The FY 2011 budget includes a potential $1.6 million increase to the transit agency, which is 26% more than in FY 2010.
“Our City continues to face challenging times, and will continue to do so for the next few years,” said City Manager James K. Hartmann. “This year’s budget process and the budget that was approved tonight show the delicate balance between cutting costs, maintaining the City’s basic operational needs, and compensating the excellent workforce that makes it possible.”
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