Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and Capital Improvements Program Discussion
The City Council discussed the proposed FY2018 Budget and CIP. All budget documents are available at www.fallschurchva.gov/Budget. As a refresher, the proposal includes:
- Proposed 1 cent increase on the real estate tax rate to cover Schools increase request;
- Proposed 3 cent increase on the real estate tax rate to start saving for major CIP projects like the new high school. Tax rate increases will be needed to build a new high school -- anywhere from 6 cents to 18 cents, depending on the project -- so a relatively small increases over the next few years will alleviate one large increase; more savings helps with the City's bond rating, which helps get better deals for bonds, which will be needed for the new high school project. The money received from this proposed tax rate increased would be marked for the major CIP projects.
- A 4 cent increase on the real estate tax rate would mean an additional $262 for the median home of $657,200.
- Proposed 1% increase in the hotel tax (from 7% to 8%), which should mean an additional $60,000 in revenue for commercial district improvements light lighting, planters, and signage.
- Of note, the City's obligation to WMATA increased again -- up 64.8% ($505,193) for a total contribution of $1,284,675. To help cover this and other increased annual costs, the City government departments were held to their FY2014 actuals, and then asked to reduce more.
City Council passed a motion to advertise the tax rate for $1.355, which is a four cent increase from the current fiscal year. This does not set the tax rate; rather, it gives notice to the public that this is the highest possible amount the new tax rate could be next fiscal year. The City Council could vote for that rate or a lower rate, but not a higher rate. (Budget adoption is expected on April 24.)
There are four more City Council meetings where the budget will be discussed, and one more Town Hall meeting:
- Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. in Council Chambers: Town Hall Meeting (presentation, Q&A)
- Monday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Room: Work Session (no public comment)
- Monday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers: Regular Meeting (public comment and hearing)
- Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Room: Work Session (no public comment)
- Monday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers: Regular Meeting (public comment and hearing; anticipated budget adoption)
Budget Amendment for Mt. Daniel Elementary School Project
The City Council deferred the second reading to the April 10 meeting so that staff has more time to address the proposed escalation in costs.
Vision Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan
The City Council deferred this item to the April 10 meeting. Changes to the content have been made based on feedback from Council, Boards and Commissions, and the public. This will go back to the Planning Commission for consideration, which is expected to be on April 3.
Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan
The Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan Update is a multi-jurisdictional plan with nineteen localities, including the City of Falls Church, aimed to reduce the impact of a full range of natural and man-made hazards facing the region. The entire plan (1805 pages) can be found at here. This plan is a requirement for Federal and State mitigation and preparedness grants as well as grants and reimbursements on recovery efforts in the event of a disaster.
This plan was submitted to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management on October 17, 2016 and approved on November 14, 2016. This was followed by a review and resubmission to FEMA on February 16, 2017 and approved on March 6, 2017 pending adoption by local governments.
The City Council passed a motion to adopt the plan.