Four Options on Table as F.C. Council Closes in on Vote for FY15 Budget

April 21, 2014 11:03 PM3 comments

With one week to go before a final vote on the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the seven members of the Falls Church City Council wound up Monday night’s marathon work session with no less than four different options to chose among going into their final act.

The plans all attempt to address the issue of the real estate tax rate and the funding of the School Board’s requested budget. Ironically, lost in all the different proposals was the fact that all Council members but one advocated fully funding the School Board request. Only Councilman Phil Duncan was, from the first, dedicated to “shaving” the School Board request in order to pass a budget with no new increase in the real estate tax rate (above the current $1.305 per $100 of assessed valuation).

While other Council members, including Mayor David Tarter, also supported no tax rate increase (only two others supported an increase, Nader Baroukh and Karen Oliver), all had different plans for getting to the no tax increase while fully funding the schools option — including the preferences of Councilman Dan Sze and Marybeth Connally for dipping into the unallocated fund balance to make it work, and Vice Mayor David Snyder’s new proposal to use proceeds from the sale of the water system to pay for $5 million in debt service on capital projects to achieve it.

  • vseidita

    Technically the sale of proceeds of the sale of the Water System are in the fund balance, sacred though it may be to some. Thanks for considering all options Phil! You have my support.

  • FallsChurchCitizen

    Lest we forget, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops in other Northern Virginia jurisdictions. Loudoun County’s process was particularly contentious this year:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/loudoun-adopts-19-billion-budget-schools-face-a-nearly-38-million-shortfall/2014/04/02/a74ca474-ba9e-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

    “The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to adopt a $1.9 billion budget for fiscal 2015, a plan that boosts education spending by nearly $70 million but still falls about $38 million short of fully funding the school system’s requested budget.

    The decision was met with disappointed quiet from a standing-room-only crowd dominated by public school supporters, many of whom wore red or held red signs as a show of solidarity during the hours-long meeting.”

  • philduncan

    Thanks, Nick, for attending Council’s long work session. Just a note here to make sure that others on Council get due credit for the close scrutiny that they are giving the budget. Last night, I believe I heard nearly all the Councilors say they were open to considering trims in the spending increases proposed to us for schools and general government, while maintaining excellent services and supporting quality public education. And, as you note, several of us expressed every intent to hold the tax rate level, including Mayor Tarter, Vice Mayor Snyder, Mr. Sze, and me. Hard work continues on the budget details, and I am hopeful that, by April 28, we will settle on a plan with a modest increase in funds to deliver fine City services, a robust increase in funds for our growing, superb school system, and a level tax rate.

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