City Manager Proposes Budget With Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Increases
By FALLS CHURCH CITY OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
March 15, 2016
City Manager Wyatt Shields on Monday night proposed a Fiscal Year 2017 budget of $87 million, an increase of 5.1 percent over the previous fiscal year. The proposed budget provides for a 1.2 percent ($438,421) increase in general government operating expenditures and a 5.4 percent ($2,065,130) increase in local funding for public schools, as requested by the School Board and required by City ordinance.
Three tax increases are proposed by the City Manager to meet needs and requirements set forth in the budget. A 2.5 cent increase in the real estate tax – from $1.315 to $1.34 per $100 of assessed value – is proposed to meet the school funding request. Taxes for the median home value of $647,800 would increase $163.
Mr. Shields also proposed a 16 cent increase on the personal property tax – from $4.84 to $5 per $100 of assessed value – and a 10 cent increase on the cigarette tax – from 75 cents to 85 cents per pack – to help offset a $627,112 increase in Metro funding required of local governments. The increase in the personal property tax would mean an additional $27 for the average car tax bill in the City.
The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) contains significant projects this year and for the subsequent four year planning period. The five year total is $128 million, and includes the high school and middle school; improvements to Big Chimney Park, Cherry Hill Park and Herman Stream Valley Park; and upgrades to Fire Station 6. Two new projects are the downtown West Broad Street Plaza and funding for land acquisition. Transportation projects totaling about $6 million are largely grant funded, and include Oak Street and Sherrow Avenue bridge repairs, Roosevelt Boulevard roadbed reconstruction, intersection improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
The Council will adopt a final budget on April 25 after three public hearings and two town hall meetings. The 2017 fiscal year runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Documents, presentations and video are posted or will be posted to the City’s website, www.fallschurchva.gov/Budget and made available at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library. The schedule of budget meetings and public hearings is also available on the website.
An Open House and Town Hall will take place this Saturday, March 19, at 10 a.m. in the Community Center. At the event, community members can meet with department directors, project managers and school representatives to ask questions about budget priorities. There will be presentations and a question and answer session. The City Council and School Board members will be in attendance to hear public comment and answer questions.
A second Town Hall will take place on April 9 at 10 a.m. in the Community Center with a budget presentation and opportunities for questions and answers and public comment.
Public comment also is open at the City Council’s regular meetings, including March 28, April 11 and April 25. The City Council’s work sessions do not allow for public comment, but are open to the public: March 21, April 4 and April 18.
Additionally, public comments and questions may be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Stephen Siegel
March 15, 2016