Alexandria City Manager Proposes Fiscal Year 2021 Budget
For Immediate Release: February 18, 2020
On February 18, City Manager Mark Jinks presented the Alexandria City Council with a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 General Fund Operating Budget of $799.9 million, which represents an increase of 4.5% over the current year. The proposed budget includes $241.4 million in operating funds for the Alexandria City Public Schools, a $9.8 million (or 4.2%) increase over FY 2020 funding. The budget proposal also includes increases in capital investments for two new school buildings and other educational and municipal facilities, totaling $2.1 billion over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The proposed All Funds budget (which incorporates state and federal grants and user fee-supported services) totals $1.0 billion, which represents 5.8% increase over FY 2020.
“This is the third year in a row that my proposed budget requires no tax increases or major service reductions to fund ongoing government operations and 100% of the Superintendent’s operating budget request for public schools. My budget devotes nearly 40% of all FY 2021 General Fund net new revenue growth to public school operations,” said Jinks. “However, due to capital investment needs, I am proposing a two-cent increase in the real estate tax rate to be applied exclusively to Schools and City capital projects.”
The City Manager’s proposed budget provides funding for initiatives that include enhanced cybersecurity and physical security to protect the City’s information assets and facilities; continued implementation of the Environmental Action Plan 2040; improved field and turf maintenance at City parks; a museum planner and project manager for the Freedom House property; new tourism promotions to expand and update representation of Alexandria’s African American history and the diverse populations that comprise communities and neighborhoods today; and interpreters, translations of digital and print media, and other language access services to be used in conjunction with an updated Citywide language access policy and individual department language plans. Other initiatives in the proposed budget include expansion of early childhood and full-day summer school programs for low-income children, after-school programs, and library materials; support for successful rehabilitative justice programs administered by the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney; and new human services case management positions to strengthen the social safety net. The proposals reflect $4.1 million in operating budget savings across City departments and $1.6 million in revenue from increased user fee cost recovery and tax collections.
The proposed budget would raise the real estate tax from its current rate of $1.13 to $1.15 per $100 of assessed value, which would increase the average homeowner’s tax bill by 1.8%, or $116 per year. The $8.5 million generated by the real estate tax rate increase would be used solely for school and City capital needs, including the construction of new buildings for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and the Minnie Howard Campus of T.C. Williams High School. The City Manager has included 100% of the School Board’s adopted 10-year CIP (totaling $530.7 million) in his proposed $2.1 billion 10-year City CIP. There are no proposed increases in any other tax rates or the sanitary sewer fee. The proposed budget includes an 11.9% increase in the annual fee for residents who receive City refuse and recycling collection, from $411 to $460, necessitated by continued increases in contractor costs and the impact of China’s new strict recycling processing standards. The stormwater fee would increase by 4.5%, from $140.00 to $146.30 per billable unit, to cover the increased costs of the City’s stormwater management program.
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 and a regional competitiveness adjustment for all eligible employees; targeted pay increases for public safety classifications with pay gaps in the regional market; additional sheriff’s deputy and firefighter positions to improve staffing ratios; and expanded health and well-being support for first responders and other City employees.
The City Manager will present his proposed budget to the public on February 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library (5005 Duke St.). City Council will hold nine work sessions throughout the spring to review the proposed budget with City staff; a special budget public hearing on March 9; and tax rate and preliminary add/delete public hearings on April 18, before adopting the FY 2021 budget on April 29. 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 budget presentation and at public hearings.
The City Manager’s full 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 or reasonable disability accommodation, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965, Virginia Relay 711.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/113736.