The Falls Church City Council last week approved a $12.4 million budget for the coming fiscal year and dropped its property tax rate to the lowest level in 30 years.

Falls Church homeowners will pay 96 cents per $100 of assessed property value when real estate taxes are due Dec. 5. That represents a 4-cent decrease in real estate taxes over fiscal 1982.

Yet despite the drop in the tax rate, the average homeowner's tax bill is expected to increase 12.2 percent because of a general reassessment last year.

"I wish that we could have lowered the property tax rate even more because the reassessment will mean that homeowners will be paying more in taxes," said Mayor Carol DeLong. "But because of the depressed economy, we are expecting sales tax and motel and restaurant fees to be less than normal."

The new $12.4 million budget increases city spending by 6.6 percent and gives Falls Church employes a 5 percent cost-of-living increase. The budget calls for $5.2 million to operate city schools, a 5 percent increase over fiscal 1982.

"This budget sets the tax rate at the lowest in the last 30 years," said Clarence Eckert, Falls Church director of finance, "but I still think it is an awful tight budget, one that we will have to watch throughout the year to see how revenues materialize."