Alexandria City Manager Proposes Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2018
On February 20, City Manager Mark Jinks presented the Alexandria City Council with a proposed General Fund Operating Budget of $742.3 million and an All Funds Budget of $909.6 million, which represent increases over the current year of 1.9% and 2.2%, respectively. This proposed budget includes $252.8 million in operating funds and debt service for public schools (a 4.2%, or $10.1 million increase over FY 2018 funding) and invests $2.1 billion over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program.
“Last year, the City faced flat revenues and unexpected new costs,” said Jinks. “Because we made responsible choices, we are in a position to maintain our progress this year without significant adverse changes. I am proud to propose a budget with no tax rate increases, no major service reductions, and funding for 100% of the Superintendent’s requests for the Alexandria City Public Schools operating budget and 10-year capital plan.”
The City Manager’s proposed budget adds investments for City and School infrastructure, implementation of the City’s Vision Zero traffic safety initiative, improvements to the King Street retail corridor, expanded opioid treatment, and enhanced employee recruitment and retention. The proposals also reflect $4.3 million in operating budget reductions across departments.
Based on modest growth in real estate values, the proposed budget keeps the real estate tax rate at the current rate of $1.13 per $100 of assessed value. This would increase the average homeowner’s tax bill by 3.3%, $199 per year, or just 55 cents per day -- the lowest dollar increase in six years. There are also no proposed increases in any other tax rates, or to the fee for residents who receive City refuse and recycling collection services.
The first payment of the Stormwater Utility Fee adopted last year will be collected in June 2018. This will more equitably fund compliance with new federal and state stormwater mandates by shifting stormwater management costs to the residential and nonresidential property owners with greater impact on stormwater runoff. There is no proposed increase in this fee for FY 2019, which would leave the bill for the average homeowner at $140 per year.
In partnership with Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the City is making progress toward the new, accelerated state deadline of mid-2025 for completion of all combined sewer remediation. This will require increases in the sanitary sewer maintenance and capital fee, which rose 30% in FY 2018 (from $1.40 to $1.82 per thousand gallons of water used). The proposed FY 2019 budget includes an additional increase of 25% in FY 2019 (from $1.82 to $2.28), for an average increase of $25 per year per household. The City continues to work with state officials in pursuit of 20% state funding for the $385 million remediation megaprojects.
The City Manager’s balanced budget proposal is consistent with City Council’s guidance and Strategic Plan, along with extensive input from the community and City departments. The proposed budget underscores the City’s investment in its workforce by funding performance-based merit increases for employees, improvements in recruitment and retention of sworn public safety personnel in a competitive job market, a new paid leave benefit for City employees who become parents, and an increase from $14.13 to $15 in the minimum pay for City employees and contractors.
City Council will hold 10 work sessions throughout the spring to review the proposed budget with City staff; a public budget presentation on February 22 at Beatley Library; a special budget public hearing on March 12; and a tax rate public hearing on April 14, before adopting the FY 2019 budget on May 3. 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 message to City Council, as well as details about the proposed budget, public budget presentation, public meetings, and online comments, are available at alexandriava.gov/Budget.
For media inquiries, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/102366.
Note: This news release was edited at 7:15 p.m., to correct the average residential real estate tax bill increase from $197 to $199 per year.