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Alexandria City Council adopts $636.8 million operating budget

On May 1st, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to adopt a $636.8 million General Fund Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, which begins July 1, 2014. City Council’s approval of this budget marks a significant step in aligning how the City does business with the principles set forth in the City’s Strategic Plan and the City Manager’s Performance Plan. Working in Focus Area Teams, staff used a new philosophy to build a budget framework that directly links the money Alexandria spends on providing programs and services to the results the community values.

The approved FY 2015 budget, which is a $12 million (1.9%) increase over the FY 2014 budget, includes a half-cent increase in the real estate tax rate, from $1.038 to $1.043 per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s tax bill for calendar year 2014, including the rate change and average increased assessed value, will be $215 greater than 2013. The rate remains the second lowest among major Northern Virginia localities.

The additional tax revenue generated will fund programs aimed at helping Alexandria’s seniors, including continuation of the Elderly and Disabled Tax Relief program and the Senior Taxi program, along with an expansion of rent relief for the elderly. Additionally, City Council allocated $3.15 million for the Elderly and Disabled Tax Relief Program, an increase from the $2.0 million allocated in the budget proposed by the City Manager in February.

City Council also voted to increase the operating budget transfer to the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) by an additional $1.2 million over the City Manager’s proposed budget, bringing the operating contribution to $191.8 million. This funding is a $6.2 million (3.3%) increase over the FY 2014 budget.

While the adopted budget does not change the location of any current fire apparatus, it does provide funding for a new full-time medic unit at Fire Station 210 in the Eisenhower Valley.

"City Council asked staff to present a proposed budget that included priorities and tradeoffs for our consideration, which they delivered," said Mayor William D. Euille. "It was up to us to make the critical decisions on how to best allocate resources, while providing the services our community wants. The budget approved tonight represents our continued commitment to education, public safety, and services for those most in need, and reflects the goals and vision of Alexandria’s Strategic Plan."

The approved budget also includes increases in consumer utility tax rates for commercial and industrial customers. The tax on water will increase from 15% to 20% on the first $150 of the water bill. The tax on electricity is comprised of a base amount that will increase from $1.07 per month to $1.18 per month, plus a usage amount that will increase by a fraction of a cent per kilowatt hour.

The 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Program includes a total $1.46 billion in capital investment over the next 10 years, addressing renovation and maintenance of Alexandria’s existing transportation systems, expansions in transit investments, planning and construction of new public facilities and infrastructure, and capital needs for ACPS.

The adopted budget funds a merit increase for most City employees, but also includes a number of reductions in the City’s workforce. Additional investments have been made in career ladders as part of the City Manager’s pay-for-performance initiative.

To learn more about the entire budget process, visit alexandriava.gov/Budget.

Source: City of Alexandria