Alexandria City Council Adopts Fiscal Year 2017 Budget
By a 6-0 vote on May 5, the Alexandria City Council adopted a $678.5 million General Fund Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, and an All Funds budget of $840.3 million, which represent increases over the current year of 4.5% and 1.9%, respectively. FY 2017 begins on July 1, 2016. You can find out more about the budget process online.
The adopted budget includes a 3-cent increase in the real estate tax rate ($1.073 on each $100 of assessed value). Two cents of this increase will fund priority capital improvement projects such as a new pre-K facility, street paving and multimodal “Complete Streets” improvements, municipal broadband, and major facility repairs including museums and the Courthouse. The budget also includes a $206.6 million transfer to schools (a 3.9% increase over FY 2016 funding, and 45% of all new General Fund revenue) and maintains $1.6 billion of investments over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program.
“This budget shows strong investment in public education, community services, and infrastructure needs,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg. “We thank the City Manager and budget staff, and all the residents and businesses who engaged in the budget process, for helping us to arrive at a resource allocation plan that reflects our priorities, supports our community, and underscores our shared vision for our beloved, historic city.”
The adopted budget provides $44.2 million in capital project funds for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), which includes $8.3 million for a new pre-K facility and $16.1 million for tenant buildout for a new elementary school. In total, the two new school facilities will add approximately 32 classrooms to ACPS facilities.
An increase in the cigarette tax will support dental services for low-income residents and expand Alexandria Neighborhood Health clinic services. The refuse fee will increase from $337 to $363 per household, in part to implement the trash and recycling can component of the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan and expand the availability of public space recycling cans.
The adopted budget reflects the continued investments the City makes in its workforce. The fire pay scale will increase by 2.5% and fire officers will receive a 7.5% increase, which moves those salaries toward the mid-range of the region. It also increases the living wage for employees and service contractors one dollar to $14.13, the first adjustment since 2008. The budget reflects $8.1 million in savings and reductions that were proposed by the City Manager to fund other budget needs.
City Council’s approval of this budget continues an approach begun in FY 2015 to align how the City does business with principles set forth in the City’s Strategic Plan. Working in Focus Area Teams, staff built a budget framework that directly linked the funds Alexandria spends on providing programs and services to the results the community values. During the process, extensive input from Alexandria’s residents and businesses was gathered from community engagement meetings and online forums.