Alexandria City Council Adopts FY 2010 Budget Guidelines

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 25, 2008    

Alexandria City Council Adopts FY 2010 Budget Guidelines

At its legislative meeting tonight, the Alexandria City Council passed a budget resolution that established guidelines for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Budget for the City Government and the Alexandria City Public Schools. 

The City of Alexandria will be preparing the FY 2010 budget over the next two months as it faces the most significant revenue decline in decades, caused by declining property values and a difficult economy. City Manager James K. Hartmann has already implemented $10.5 million in reductions to the previously approved FY 2009 budget. The City Council budget resolution provides specific parameters for the City Manager to develop and prioritize the FY 2010 budget.

The City Council’s resolution provides that the FY 2010 budget meet the following guidelines:

  • The proposed budget will be prepared with an assumed real estate tax rate based on the average homeowner paying the same amount of real estate tax in 2009 as paid in 2008.
  • These FY 2010 guidelines equate to a 4.3% budget reduction for the City government and a 2% budget reduction for the Alexandria City Public Schools.
  • The City Manager will also identify and be prepared to implement $2 million in additional proposed spending cuts for FY 2009 that could be carried forward to FY 2010.
  • Capital Improvement Program (CIP) proposed spending for FY 2010 will focus on the new Public Safety Center, current contractual obligations that would cause significant financial loss if cancelled, maintenance of existing infrastructure or emergencies, and projects that may be funded using prior-year unallocated balances.

 “We fully expect there will be considerable service reductions in the proposed budget, and the proposed budget will likely include potential reductions in the City’s workforce,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “We must all approach this effort with full clarity, aggressive communication, and above all, compassion.”

The City Council’s adopted resolution prioritizes core programs and services for which spending cuts should be minimized, including public safety; critical health and safety net services for the most vulnerable residents; transportation services provided during peak-travel times; and cuts that would harm classroom education or hinder recent progress in the schools. City Council also urged minimal reductions to programs and services that would directly harm property values or diminish Alexandria’s ability to recover from the economic downturn, cuts to spending that generates additional commercial tax revenues to the City, or any changes that could threaten the City’s AAA/aaa bond rating. The budget resolution stated that the City workforce should be competitively compensated in relation to neighboring jurisdictions to attract and retain employees, and creative forms of compensation to reward employees should be identified.

Other strategies that the City Council highlighted in its budget resolution include seeking regional cooperation on alternative service delivery system initiatives that could yield savings for Alexandria taxpayers, and identifying ways for civic associations, service clubs, and residents to take over some municipal responsibilities through programs such as Adopt-a-Park and volunteer programs for special events. The budget resolution also authorizes the City Manager to identify new and creative revenue sources and suggest revenue proposals that could also help to shrink the funding gap.

“We have some extreme financial challenges as we face the most significant revenue shortfall in decades,” said City Manager James K. Hartmann. “We will do our best to minimize the impact of reductions on City employees and work creatively and collaboratively to mitigate the constraints in delivering City services. Maintaining infrastructure, public safety and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable residents will remain our top priority during these tough times.”

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