City Council Meeting Digest

Posted on: March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017 Work Session


Proposed FY2018 Budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP)
The City Manager and Acting Chief Financial Officer fielded questions from the City Council on the proposed budget and CIP.
  • Pages 39 to 46 (scroll to pages in this PDF) provide a summary of revenues and expenditures by department or fund, including the percent change from FY2017 (current fiscal year) to FY2018.
  • Regarding the proposed 1% increase in the hotel tax (from 7% to 8%). Fairfax County is 6.0, Alexandria is 6.5%, Arlington is 6.25%. Other cities in Virginia are 8%, including Leesburg, Richmond, Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Roanoke. The tax rate increase could result in $60,000 revenue. There are four hotels in the City. It should not affect people living in the hotels -- after a certain number of days, the Hotel Occupancy Tax doesn't apply to guests.
  • A question was raised that even if all budgets were held flat -- no change -- there would still be an increase in costs because of contracts, dues, and other obligations.
  • At the March 27 City Council Regular Meeting, the Council will set a proposed advertised tax rate. That does not set the FY2018 tax rate. It's a legal requirement to advertise the possible rate. Once that rate is set, City Council cannot adopt a higher tax rate, but they may adopt a lower tax rate. So if the proposed advertised rate $1.355 per $100 of assessed value, the City Council could adopt that rate or any lower rate. Again, the proposed advertised tax rate is not necessarily the adopted rate.

Mt. Daniel Elementary School Budget Amendment
The School Board requests an increase for the Mt. Daniel Elementary School Expansion and ADA Renovation project in the amount of $2,653,000. Of that total, the School Board requests a transfer of $901,818 from other school CIP projects and $235,100 from the School Board operating budget. The remaining $1,516,082 would be from new funds.

In FY2014 and FY2015, the Council appropriated $15,600,000 towards the Mt. Daniel Renovation and Expansion project. To date, $2,830,428 has been expended against the project, leaving a remaining balance of $12,769,572. The new request for an increase is a result of an increase in construction and labor costs and changes to the project based on Fairfax County requirements. (The land is owned by Fairfax County.)

There are other options that including restarting the project, scaling back the project, starting over with just a renovation, or cancelling the project completely. The School Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, March 21 to discuss all the options and make a decision to present to City Council.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A proposed resolution that the City Council will consider at the March 27 Regular Meeting concerns the City's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In short, the Environmental Sustainability Council's Energy Transition Subcommittee proposes that the City adopt guidelines established by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in their 2010 Region Forward planning guide and vision. Those goal include: by 2020, reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2005 levels, and by 2050, reduce emissions by 80% below 2005 levels. These goals are comparable with those already adopted by most other jurisdictions in the National Capital Region.

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