Presented to City Council by City Manager Rashad M. Young on an informational basis only.
NOTE: Click on the headings below or the "online references" to view more detailed economic, revenue or expenditure data. Click on any highlighted bullet or text to view additional information, including charts and memos.
National Retail Sales: According to the U.S. Census Bureau national sales for retail and food services were up eight percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the first quarter of 2012. Average sales for first quarter of 2012 were up 6.4 percent from the same quarter last year, which equates to the average individual spending $186 more per month in the first quarter of 2012 than they did over the same period last year. The City’s sales tax growth rate was up 9.8 percent for the same period while the City’s three month trailing average sales tax growth was 9.7 percent compared to 7.5 percent for the U.S.
The national graph below shows sales by store type not product. The highest growth rates were realized at building materials, garden equipment, and supply dealers which saw an increase of 12.5 percent. This may be due to a mix of unseasonably warm weather and slowly improving housing market. The only store type to see a decline was electronics and appliance stores which decreased by roughly two percent.
National Housing Permits and Starts: According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development seasonally adjusted estimate of housing starts for May (708,000) were down 4.8 percent from the April estimate (744,000), but up 28.5 percent from May 2011. Single family starts (516,000) in May were up 3.2 percent from April, while multi-family starts were down approximately 20.4 percent. City permits have increased slightly from April to May (eight more permits in May than April) with all permit applications coming from development at Potomac Yard.
May estimated housing permits (780,000) were up 7.9 percent from the revised April estimate (723,000) and 25 percent from May 2011. Single family permits (494,000) grew four percent from April (475,000).
Year-to-Date Revenues: As of May 31, 2012, eleven months into the fiscal year, actual General Fund revenues totaled $419.8 million, which is ten percent higher than FY 2011 for the same period. Most of this increase is related to the budgeted real estate and personal property taxes, which have increased fifteen percent and eight percent, respectively, over last year. This report includes the April re-estimates described in Budget Memo # 48, which anticipated an additional $1.7 million in revenues above those previously budgeted.
- Consumer Utility Taxes: The decrease in these taxes is primarily due to the relatively mild winter.
- Communication Taxes: The decrease in these taxes is primarily attributable to a one time refund issued to a large wireless provider that collected taxes on data services for various wireless devices used by their customers. The total amount of the refund, including interest, was $12.9 million, and the City’s share was $0.3 million.
- Recordation Tax: The increase in this tax is primarily the result of the sale and refinancing of a few large commercial properties. This increase was included in the April re-estimate.
- Revenue from Federal Government: The increase in Federal revenue primarily represents the timing of payments for the Federal Prisoner Per Diem.
- Other Revenue: The increase in other revenue resulted from sale of surplus property.
- Charges for Service: The increase in charges for services is primarily the result of a budgeted increase in meter fees (to $1.75/hour) implemented with the installation of the new multi-space meters midway through FY 2011. In addition, planning permit fees also show increased activity for FY 2012. These increases have been included in the April re-estimate.
Year-to-Date Expenditures: As of May 31, 2012, actual General Fund expenditures totaled $428.0 million, an increase of $7.3 million, or 1.7 percent, above expenditures for the same period last year. The revised budget reflects amounts that were appropriated in the supplemental appropriation ordinances approved in November and April, including bond refunding in April. Personnel expenditures remain on par with last year. These personnel expenditures are higher than last year by three percent but match the percent of payrolls completed, which is 90.4 percent. Non-personnel spending increased 0.7 percent but is only 55.4 percent of the budget so far. For many departments, differences in spending patterns reflect the timing of bill payments and not necessarily changes in spending patterns. We are, and will continue to be, closely monitoring and controlling these expenditures to be at or below budget.
- Community and Human Services: Increased expenditures are the result of a significant increase in Comprehensive Services Act costs in the third quarter due to an increase in the department’s caseload.
- Debt Service: The increase reflects budgeted debt service for new bonds issued in June 2010 and July 2011 and refunded bonds in April 2012. A portion of the interest cost ($1.2 million) is reimbursed from the federal government as part of the Build America Bonds program.
- Non- Departmental: General Fund expenditures do not include the costs for several emergencies shown in the following table. The City has been included in the Presidential declarations, which makes certain expenditures eligible for federal reimbursement. Staff continues to work with FEMA and insurance adjustors on the reimbursement requests. Though no reimbursements have been received yet, $0.3 million has been approved for the earthquake only for costs directly associated with the event. The City is responsible for other repairs made at the same time, such as resealing or adding chimney caps. The Tropical Storm Lee cost estimate includes $2.34 million to $3.55 million in damages to the Holmes Run sewer. City Council committed fund balances to offset any costs not reimbursed by FEMA and insurance filings. Initial reviews of the projects indicate that most of the cost is for sanitary sewer work that will not be eligible for reimbursement since the projects currently being considered would move these sewer lines from their pre-disaster location.
Additional costs are included in the General Fund expenditures relating to the February line of duty death incident, which resulted in the death of Alexandria Paramedic Joshua Weismann.
|Tropical Storm Lee||$2.34 - $3.55million||Declaration could reduce some costs.|
|Hurricane Irene||$0.73 million||$0.33 million approved to date.|
|Earthquake||$0.54 million||$0.3 million approved to date.|
|9/11 Terrorist Preparation||$0.02 million||All City cost.|
|February Line of Duty Death Incident, Funeral,
and Associated Costs (Fire paramedic)
plus related workers
|City expenses included in the General Fund.|
- Schools: The City will provide approximately 75 percent of the estimated funds required to operate the City public school system in FY 2012.