In what could be a bell weather first Falls Church City Council move in response to the City Manager’s recommended budget presentation tonight, the Council decided without a formal vote to eschew some flexibility in its upcoming deliberations by authorizing the formal advertisement of the top level of the real estate tax rate to be permitted at the current rate of $1.27 per $100 of assessed valuation.
City Manager Wyatt Shields recommended advertising a rate of $1.29 merely to allow flexibility in the event of unanticipated developments or decisions during the course of the adoption of the new budget over the next seven weeks. That has been a common approach to the budgeting process, but this year, the Council, with all seven members present tonight, made it clear that a preponderance of members were not in favor of that this year.
Council member Johannah Barry, saying “the path of least resistance is to hand a bill to citizens,” and so joined Council member Ira Kaylin in his preference to “tie the hands” of the Council at the current $1.27 rate. Mayor Nader Baroukh and Council member Robin Gardner agreed.