Alexandria City Manager Douglas Harman last week presented the 1978 Annual Report to members of the City Council, terming it a "positive" reflection of the city's growth in the last year. The council quickly allotted time for a discussion of the 40-page tabloidsize document at its next public hearing, on Oct. 14.
The annual report has been mailed out to civic associations throughout the city, and free copies are available in the City Council clerk's office on the third floor of City Hall.
The city population now stands at 116,900, an increase of 2.5 percent since 1976. The two areas of the city that have experienced the greatest population increase are the west end, because of the construction of townhouses and condominiums, and Old Town, because of construction and restoration of townshouses there.
The nature of the city's population has changed as well, becoming more affluent and upwardly mobile, the report indicates. For example, when the Shirley Duke-Regina apartment complex closed last year, more than 1,000 of its low-income residents left the city.Despite this loss, the overall city population increased, and new residents were generally in the upper income brackets, according to the report.
Two years ago, only 4,200 people lived in condominiums, while this year the figure has more than doubled to 10,000, the report shows. Condominiums usually sell in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, according to the report.
The average assessed value of a single-family home increased to $64,800 from $39,200 in 1974, a 65 percent increase in four years, the report shows.
The percentage of owner-occupied units increased to 23.3 percent, a reflection of the continued conversion of low- and moderately priced apartments to condominiums, as well as the construction of new residences in place of deteriorating apartments. For the past two years more than 200 single-family homes have been completed, the greatest number during this decade.
The median adjusted gross income for families in the city increased to $12,404 from $11,540. However, nearly 19 percent of all families had incomes of less than $5,000 annually. Per capital income for city residents was $9,929, less than the $11,962 for Arlington residents, but greater than that of the Washington area as a whole [WORD ILLEGIBLE] or northern Virginia [WORD ILLEGIBLE]
Another indicator of the city's economic growth is the fact that 1,500 more jobs have been created in the past year when compared with 1977. Most of these jobs were in the retail trade and restaurant business, particularly in Old Town, according to the report.
The value of authorized non-residential construction for the first six months of 1978 was 50 percent greater than the value of all authorized non-residential construction the prior year, $20.8 million compared to $13.8. The 1977 level represented a staggering drop from the $547 million in authorized non-residential construction in 1976.
Crime statistics represented one of the few blots in the otherwise rosy annual report. Alexandria's rate of crimes per 1,000 persons was 89.63, significantly above the national rate of 52.66 per 1,000, and the Washington metropolitan area (56.88 per 1,000.)
The city's crime rate was higher than any other Virginia area surveyed, although the city rate acutally dropped 24 percent from 1977.