FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 2009
Alexandria City Manager Proposes $524.3 Million General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2010
Alexandria City Manager James K. Hartmann tonight proposed a $524.3 million General Fund Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. The budget was presented to the Alexandria City Council at their regularly scheduled 7 p.m. legislative meeting.
“The City of Alexandria faces its most serious fiscal crisis in more than 30 years,” said Hartmann. “However, working together, we will be able to deal with this unprecedented economic situation responsibly, while maintaining Alexandria’s exceptional quality of life. Even at a reduced level, we will focus our resources on community priorities, public safety, the health and welfare of our residents and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”
- The proposed budget includes a 7.7% decrease ($43.6 million) in spending from what it would cost to maintain current City services.
- The proposed budget includes a 3.3% decrease ($17.8 million) in spending from the FY 2009 approved budget.
- The operating budget transfer to the Alexandria City Public Schools would decrease by 2.0% ($3.4 million) from last year’s approved budget.
- In accordance with City Council guidance, the real estate tax burden on the average homeowner would not change and the tax rate will remain as low as any rate in the region. The tax rate would increase from 84.5 to 88.7 cents (4.2 cents) in 2009. However, due to the estimated 4.7% decline in average assessed home value, the average homeowner will pay the same amount ($4,226) as in 2008. The average tax bill has declined since 2006.
- The tax rate for commercial property owners, 88.7 cents, would remain significantly lower than that of surrounding jurisdictions. There is no proposed commercial add-on real estate tax for transportation.
- For the first time in nearly two decades, City employee pay would be frozen for one year. The budget also proposes an unprecedented reduction of 4% or 121 funded staff positions. Of the 121 positions, 74 are vacant; 17 positions may be reassigned or choose retirement. The remaining 30 positions would be eliminated and subject to City Reduction in Force procedures if the City cannot find another position for which the employee is qualified and for which funding in available. These reductions would result in a savings of $7.5 million.
- User fees and charges for services would increase slightly to help further offset the cost of providing the services. The total estimated increase in all fees, charges and fines to be collected would be $1.6 million.
As directed by City Council in their fall Budget Resolution, the proposed budget seeks to protect core services such as public safety, programs protecting the health and welfare of our most vulnerable residents, education, protecting economic sustainability, and maintaining a competitive workforce.
“This budget respects the priorities provided by City Council and our focus on the long range future of Alexandria,” explained Hartmann. “I believe we can successfully navigate these challenging economic times and emerge more efficient and stronger as we continue to build the foundation for a sustainable future.”
- Under the proposed budget, seven City department budgets would be increased slightly over the FY 2009 approved spending levels, including the Alexandria Fire Department, the Alexandria Police Department and the Department of Human Services.
- The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) would continue to focus on maintaining the existing infrastructure and the continuation of projects already underway, including the new Police Headquarters building, which would allow the police department to consolidate its operation and save lease costs. The CIP totals $71 million in FY 2010, and $329 million over six years. A total of $128 million in unfunded projects have also been identified.
- For new City employees the costs of life insurance benefits and supplemental retirement would increase.
- Employees would receive an increased leave accrual rate resulting in an extra day of annual leave. This makes Alexandria comparable with our neighboring jurisdictions.
- Under the proposed budget there are no scheduled furloughs or pay decreases.
The Operating Budget and Capitol Improvement Program are scheduled for adoption by the Alexandria City Council on April 27, 2009. City Council will have 13 work sessions to review the proposed budget with City staff. City Council will also hold two budget public hearings on Monday, April 13 at 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 at 9:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to provide their input. All the details regarding the public meetings and budget details can be found at alexandriava.gov/budget.