Alexandria City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
$587.9 Million Budget Restores Many Previous Cuts, Offsets Some Reductions in State and Federal Funding
- The General Fund Operating Budget is $587.9 million, an increase of 3.7% from Fiscal Year 2012.
- The calendar year 2012 property tax rate is unchanged at 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s tax bill would increase by $52, or 1.2%, due to increased property values.
- The FY 2013 budget restores some previous budget cuts and offsets some reductions in state and federal funding.
- The Alexandria City Public Schools transfer increases by $4.5 million, or 2.6%, from Fiscal Year 2012.
The Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to adopt a $587.9 million General Fund Operating Budget for the fiscal year (FY) beginning July 1, 2012. The calendar year 2012 real estate tax rate remains unchanged at 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s taxes will increase by $52, or 1.2%, due to increased property values. The City’s real property tax rate remains the second lowest for residential properties and the lowest for commercial properties among major jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Other City tax rates, as well as the solid waste and sanitary sewer tax rates, remain unchanged.
The transfer of funds to the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) was $179.5 million. The transfer of funds to the Schools for FY2013 operating expenses was increased by $4.5 million, or 2.6%.
The FY 2013 budget maintains the City’s core services, restores some service cuts proposed by the City Manager and made in FY 2012 and previous years, and helps fill some funding gaps left by cuts in federal and state funding.
These restorations include:
- Support for Complete Streets, a new program that reactivates the City’s efforts to implement pedestrian, vehicular, and bicycle-friendly transit and safety measures throughout the City ($532,000).
- Restoration of senior citizen taxi reservation services provided by Senior Services of Alexandria ($70,000), and contingent reserve funding dedicated to expansion of the City’s Meals on Wheels service for senior citizens ($39,983).
- Funding for maintaining a position, previously funded by the federal government, to help prevent gang crime ($85,000).
- Restoration of Healthy Families program funding reduced by state budget cuts ($56,607).
- Restoration of funding for the Teen Wellness Center, operated by the Alexandria Health Department, to replace a loss of state funding ($65,000).
- Funding for marketing and advertising used by the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership to attract businesses to Alexandria ($83,365).
- Support for increasing the operating hours of the Alexandria Library Special Collections Branch at the Barrett Library ($50,000), which were reduced by the City in FY 2011.
As in previous years, City employees will not receive a market rate increase in FY 2013. City employees will receive merit step increases, if eligible, at a cost of $3.3 million. Additionally, to encourage employee retention and to recognize employees who increase their skill levels, Council allocated $900,000 to fund employee career ladders and to address how public safety employees progress on the pay scale compared to similar employees in other jurisdictions. The Virginia General Assembly also recently passed legislation requiring local governments participating in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) to ensure that their employees contribute 5% of their salary to VRS. Local governments must provide employees with a 5% salary increase, and can phase in the requirement. The City will gradually implement the 5% contribution and salary requirement at 1% per year, beginning July 1, 2012.
“The budget approved tonight was built using the City’s Strategic Plan as the foundation for our decisions,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “We listened to the community--and this budget reflects your input and prioritizes maintaining our core services, public safety, transportation, public schools and human services. This budget also restores many of the cuts made during recent, tough economic times, and helps fill in some reductions in federal and state funding. As we slowly emerge from challenging economic conditions, the City government will continue to work hard with the entire community on improving Alexandria’s quality of life, strengthening our local economy and building a bright future.”