Alexandria homeowners could see a slight increase in property taxes next year, but only because single-family homes are more valuable than they used to be. However, several city employees may be looking for work by July, when the new budget goes into effect.
In the first look at his fiscal 2013 budget recommendation, city manager Rashad Young said Tuesday that although the tax rate will not change, a typical single-family homeowner will pay an additional $118 in taxes and condo owners will pay $20 less, because property values rose 3.5 percent citywide.
Those higher values will bring an extra $13.3 million to the city, which will help increase the amount of money allocated for public schools, add $5.6 million to the public safety budget and include merit pay for city employees.
The $585.6 million budget will rise by 3.3 percent, including a $7.5 million surplus from the current year.
The City Council set the guidance for its relatively new city manager last month, and will hold a public hearing on the budget March 5 with a final vote set for May 7.
To meet those orders, Young is advising $6.8 million in spending cuts and $1.4 million in new expenditures. He is also asking that the council dedicate a hefty $1.1 billion for capital projects over the next 10 years, prioritizing maintenance, infrastructure improvements and paying for the new fire station in Eisenhower Valley. Some $99 million of that total would be spent next year.
“It’s good for the community that we don’t have the fiscal stress that many other communities have, although it’s all relative,” Young said at a news conference Tuesday prior to his presentation to the Alexandria City Council. “We have had a significant reduction in federal funds . . . namely around what we do for home ownership. The vast majority of our home ownership services are going to go away.”
The spending cuts Young recommends includes the elimination of 27 city jobs. But only eight of those positions are filled, and the three full-time and five part-time employees may find other work in the city government before July 1, Young said.
All city employees will have to start contributing 20 percent to the cost of their health insurance as well, a change the council requested.
The budget recommendation notes that $835,000 will be spent from the surplus, including $415,000 for waterfront-related projects such as Union Street traffic congestion, a contingency fund and the start-up of a valet parking project. The city will also start spending the $1.8 million it figures it will cost to acquire more open space on the waterfront and start a flood mitigation project.