The Vienna Town Council has approved an $11.3 million budget for the coming fiscal year, a 2.7 percent increase over this year's budget.
The budget, approved 5 to 0 Monday night, included only minor changes to the one proposed in May by Town Manager John Schoberlein. Under the new budget, which will take effect July 1, the Vienna property tax rate will be reduced from 32 cents per $100 of assessed value to 31 cents. But because of a rapid increase in assessments all across Fairfax County, including Vienna, town residents will pay about 5 percent more in taxes next year, according to town officials.
The budget includes a 5 percent increase in water and sewer rates, raising the water rate from 97 cents per 1,000 gallons to $1.02, and sewer fees from $2 per 1,000 gallons to $2.10.
"I'm a firm believer in cutting taxes wherever possible, but I believe the vast majority of people in Vienna expect and are entitled to . . . a first-class level of services," said Mayor Charles A. Robinson Jr.
The budget approval came without much opposition or participation from town residents, only two of whom spoke during an earlier public hearing.
Vienna homeowners also pay taxes to Fairfax County, which next year will be $1.32 per $100 of assessed value. Town officials say that the added taxes paid by residents, about $400 a year, are offset by additional services.
The budget also provides for the consolidation of the planning and zoning departments into one community development division. Three positions will be added: a division chief, a planner and a clerical assistant.
Also included is funding for a police investigator, bringing to 40 the number of officers on the town force. Schoberlein said the added position will allow an officer to concentrate on drug enforcement and undercover operations. Also included is a clerical position that will free some officers from clerical duties. The budget also earmarks $20,000 for the planning and design of a police building. The department currently operates out of the basement of Town Hall, in quarters Schoberlein has said are inadequate.
The budget included a pay increase for Schoberlein, from $58,760 annually to $67,554.
Also included in the budget: About $225,000 to fund a 4.5 percent cost-of-living increase for the town's 155 full-time employes. $150,000 for the addition of a multipurpose room and storage space at the Vienna Community Center. $73,957 for bulk trash pickups and the town's leaf removal project.