News

F.C. Officials Host First of Two Citizen Input Meetings on Budget

budget1This morning at the Falls Church Community Center, officials of the City of Falls Church hosted the first of two citizen-input meetings designed to garner the community’s sense of priorities going into the coming difficult budget deliberations. Of those present in the Senior Center room at the Community Center who were not either City and school administrators and employees, elected City Council or School Board members, or other members of City boards and commissions, there were about 20 citizens present in the City’s first public event since the double-whammy blizzards of the past week that dumped upwards of 30 inches of snow.

 

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Scenes from today’s town hall meeting at the Falls Church Community Center. (News-Press photo)

 

This morning at the Falls Church Community Center, officials of the City of Falls Church hosted the first of two citizen-input meetings designed to garner the community’s sense of priorities going into the coming difficult budget deliberations. Of those present in the Senior Center room at the Community Center who were not either City and school administrators and employees, elected City Council or School Board members, or other members of City boards and commissions, there were about 20 citizens present in the City’s first public event since the double-whammy blizzards of the past week that dumped upwards of 30 inches of snow.

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Scenes from today’s town hall meeting at the Falls Church Community Center. (News-Press photo)

“Budgeting is a question of values,” City Manager Wyatt Shields told the total attendance of about 60 which spent much of the time in small-group discussions at eight tables set up in the room. The preponderance of reports from the small groups indicated that maintaining the quality of the educational curriculum in the school system was the top value held by most there. Maintaining economic development efforts was second.

Going into the budget deliberations for Fiscal Year 2001 (beginning July 1), the City faces a recession-driven $8.9 million deficit, based on current revenue projections and maintaining costs at their current level, including with no wage or salary increases. The shortfall amounts to about 15 percent of the total current costs of $66.4 million. In order for the City to maintain its current level of expenditures, real estate taxes would have to rise by 30 cents above their current rate of $1.07 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Decision makers, ultimately, the Falls Church City Council (all seven of whose members were present today), will have to determine what balance of spending cuts and tax increases will best serve the community, and today’s meeting was an attempt to assess what the community wants along those lines.

A second meeting with the same objective is scheduled for this Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center.

 

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