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.