Alexandria City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2012 Budget
- The property tax rate increases 2.0 cents to 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed value to fund critical transportation and school capital needs, and to address employee compensation. The average homeowner’s tax bill would increase $107, or 2.5%.
- A proposed transportation add-on tax was not approved, but the equivalent of 2.2 cents of real estate revenues is reserved for transportation purposes.
- The General Fund Operating Budget is $566.9 million, an increase of 6.6% from Fiscal Year 2011. One-third of this increase is for transportation purposes.
- Alexandria City Public Schools transfer increased $¬¬6.9 million, a 4.1% increase over last year, with $211.1 million for the 10-year Schools Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
- A proposed increase in the City employees’ pension contribution of 1% was not approved.
The Alexandria City Council voted 7-0 to adopt a $566.9 million General Fund Operating Budget for the fiscal year (FY) beginning July 1, 2011. The calendar year 2011 real estate tax rate of 97.8 cents was increased by 2 cents to 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s taxes will increase by $107, or 2.5%. The City’s real property tax rate remains the second lowest among major jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Other City tax rates and major user fees will remain unchanged.
The Council did not approve a proposed commercial transportation add-on tax; instead, part of the base real estate tax paid by all property owners will be reserved and used to fund transportation. It is estimated that the increased funding approved by Council will generate transportation funding of $13.5 million in FY 2012 and $110 million over 10 years. “By providing substantially increased funding to pay for transportation needs, Alexandria has taken a historic step towards achieving a set of long-range transportation goals,” said Mayor William D. Euille.
The largest dollar increase in the FY 2012 budget is dedicated to the Alexandria City Public Schools. The transfer of funds to the Schools for operating expenses will increase $6.9 million, a 4.1% increase over the FY 2011 budget. City Council also approved an additional $53 million for the Schools’ FY 2012-2021 Capital Improvement Program budget over 10 years, which represents a 33% increase. The funds will be used to pay for additional classroom capacity at several schools and new elementary school buildings at Jefferson-Houston and Patrick Henry. “This increase in funding will help ACPS to adequately respond to increasing enrollment growth, and provide the best learning environment for Alexandria’s children, both now and in the future,” said Mayor Euille.
City employees will receive merit step increases, if eligible, in FY 2012, at a cost of $3.3 million. Although the City Manager’s budget originally proposed a 1% City employee contribution increase for pension costs, the City Council did not include that proposal in the final FY 2012 budget. City Council formed an Ad Hoc Retirement Benefits Advisory Group to look at the need for any future changes to existing City defined benefit pension plans.
“Members of City Council worked hard with City staff to put together a budget that not only meets our current needs, but also addresses key issues and strengthens our future. Funding transportation initiatives and school capital improvements were our priorities--and this budget reflects our commitment to support both,” said Mayor Euille. “City employees are the backbone of the exceptional services Alexandrians receive, and we seek to fairly and competitively compensate our valuable employees as we build on the economic recovery we are now experiencing.”