This was the final budget mark-up session. The original proposed Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget called for a 1 cent increase in the real estate tax to cover the schools’ increased budget request, as well as 3 cents to go toward capital.
City Council asked for a scenario showing the elimination of the 1 cent increase for operating funds. The government and schools presented their proposals for meeting that goal.
The City Manager explained that the government would reduce the budget request so that the schools could have at least most of their increased request. The government’s reduced request includes:
- -$125,000 = a reduction in the estimate for the City’s obligation toward WMATA to a total of $944,000
- -$137,000 = not hire an HR Director, a position that is currently not filled; it would be filled by the current Assistant City Manager, Cindy Mester; this would result in a reduction of HR Director and Assistant City Manager functions
Capital Improvements Program projects for FY18 total $9.1 million. The FY19 projects total $20.6 million, not including high school, middle school, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School projects.
Council discussed the City Manager’s proposal for 3 cents on the real estate tax rate that would go toward capital reserves for projects like the high school. The 3 cents equals $1.2 million for FY18. This pre-funding will “shave the peak” for the debt service in the years 2022 through 2026.
Council wanted more options on the 3 cents for the capital reserves. The City Manager will present options at the April 24 City Council meeting, which is the same evening the budget is expected to be approved.