Alexandria’s city manager Tuesday proposed a $626.6 million operating budget for fiscal year 2014.
The proposal includes a 3 cent real estate property tax increase to $1.053 per $100 of assessed value for cash capital investments, and a motor vehicle tax rate of $5 per $100 of assessed value—an increase of 25 cents. The increases would add a combined $21.1 million in revenue.
These tax rate hikes would be used to pay for an increase in the Alexandria City Public Schools operating budget, capital investments and transit expansion and improvement programs, City Manager Rashad Young said in a Tuesday afternoon media briefing at City Hall.
Within the General Fund Operating Budget, Alexandria City Public Schools would see an increase of 3 percent or $6 million, which is less than requested by the superintendent.
The city’s Capital Improvement Program proposes a $1.27 billion capital investment over the next 10 years, addressing school capacity needs, fire equipment, facility maintenance and transportation capital investments.
The budget planners took into consideration a $31 million projected budget shortfall identified by the city and noted the city is experiencing its sixth straight year of economic challenges. To address that gap while moving the city forward, Young said he balanced fiscal needs against affordability and recommended increases and decreases based on their alignment with the city’s strategic plan.
The general fund budget’s total spending increases by 6.6 percent, or $43.1 million from the FY13 approved budget.
Some impacts from the proposed General Fund Budget:
- Cancel implementation of the Arlandria/Del Ray Trolley, which would avoid $700,000 in costs for the city. Young noted that bids received for the project were three times higher than expected.
- Expand Capital Bikeshare program to other areas of the city.
- Close Warwick Pool to see a savings of $92,000.
- Reduce library hours by two hours per week at Barrett, Burke and Duncan branches.
- Upgrade Beatley Library, including new carpeting.
- Extend parking meter hours by two hours (from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
- Increase fees for fire permits and inspections.
- Increase the commercial refuse fee so that it’s on par with the residential refuse fee.
- Raise parking fees up to 25 percent at the eight city-managed parking garages.
- Add part-time position at Black History Museum while reducing the public information officer position in the Office of Historic Alexandria to part-time.
- Abolish 14 positions within city government.
Among other proposals in the plan are monies for public art acquisition, funding for an emergency operations center, entering the next phase of the wayfinding sign implementation, waterfront plan design and engineering and completion of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station environmental impact study.
City Council will host seven work sessions to review the proposed budget and three public hearings.