Fairfax City Manager Edward Wyatt Tuesday recommended a $45 million budget for next year that would increase spending by 9.7 percent and raise taxes on a typical home more than 15 percent.

Wyatt said development and growth in Fairfax County, the 700,000-person jursidiction that surrounds this city of 20,000, accounts for many of the new spending needs by introducing more traffic, increasing competition for municipal employees and raising fees for schools and other services the county provides.

"The community we serve is larger than what's in the city and these boundaries," he said, noting that only 14 percent of people working in the city also live there.

Wyatt's budget calls for spending all of a 12.9 percent increase in total revenue, driven mainly by an increase in real estate assessments. Although the real estate tax rate would remain unchanged at $1.08 per $100 assessed value, the average house has gone from $103,700 to $120,000 in assessed value, and the average tax bill would go from $1,120 to $1,296 if the budget is adopted as is.

However, for all but one of the last 10 years, the City Council has voted to reduce the tax rate to compensate homeowners at least partially for their rising assessments. Especially since this year's budget process will be played out during the campaign for the May 10 City Council elections, observers say there will be pressure on the council to cut the tax rate again this year.

This year's budget includes a projected $1.2 million pay increase for city workers for cost-of-living adjustments and higher salaries to make city jobs more competitive with other jurisdictions, city officials said. It calls for $1.4 million in fees the city pays to Fairfax County for services such as schools.

It also includes two capital projects -- air conditioning at Lanier Intermediate School and limited widening of Chain Bridge Road -- that have been controversial proposals for years, and are now getting funded.

Wyatt's budget calls for spending $10.1 million for salaries, about a 17 increase over last year's budgeted $8.6 million.

This includes up to $600,000 for a cost-of-living increase that will run up to 5 percent, depending on what other jurisdictions give their employees. It also includes $600,000 for higher salaries for nonmanagement employees.

The city is now beginning a study Wyatt expects will result in "rather substantial adjustments" for some city workers to alleviate high turnover, now averaging 19 percent a year, according to Wyatt, ranging up to 44 percent for dispatchers, 50 percent for mid-level secretaries, and 70 percent for laborers.

Wyatt said department heads have requested 21 more workers, but the budget calls for only four new full-time slots. "Our {personnel} recommendation we feel is fairly modest {although} I'm sure there'll be some reaction," Wyatt said.

Schools get $14.3 million in his budget proposal, or 32 percent of the total. Wyatt predicts the city will pay the county $13.1 million for tuition for 2,554 students, an 8.3 percent increase over this year's figure though enrollment is expected to remain about the same. Similarly, the $1.48 million the city is to pay the county next year for social services is a 27.8 percent increase over this year's level.

The budget includes $550,000 for air conditioning classrooms at Lanier Intermediate, and $300,000 to start adding a third turning lane on Chain Bridge Road between Kenmore Drive and Warwich Avenue. Both these projects had been contentious political issues in previous years, but generated little public comment when the council put them on the capital improvement program this year.

The spending increases are made possible largely by an estimated 13.2 percent increase in total assessments to $1.325 billion and an increase in real estate tax revenue to $14.5 million. Residential assessments are up about 15 percent, and commercial assessments 10 percent, city officials estimate.

Personal property tax revenue is up 15.7 percent, to $3 million; sales tax revenue up 20.2 percent, to $6.3 million; and utility tax revenue up 47.7 percent to 1.3 million after a tax increase passed last month on commercial utility users.