City of Manassas Park

The following was among actions taken at the Jan. 15 meeting of the Manassas Park City Council. For more information, call 335-8800.

BUDGET -- The City Council agreed to transfer $260,000 from the city's $2.3 million reserve fund to offset shortfalls in city revenues.

The council also agreed to eliminate a proposed 3 percent cost-of-living increase for the town's 120 employees next fiscal year, which begins July 1, to balance anticipated reductions in state aid.

In addition, the city is considering cutting 3 percent annual merit increases for employees next year. Town employees this year received a 5 percent cost-of-living increase and most also received 3 percent merit raises.

"If it's a quesiton of {elminating} merit increases or laying poeple off, it will be merit increases," Norlund said, explaining that staff is trying to reduce spending throughout City Hall, such as on office supplies. "We're getting really chintzy around here. It's scary."

The city's current budget is $8.5 million.

The bankruptcy of three city businesses, including the heavy machinery company Mid-Atlantic Equipment, caused the largest shortfall -- $105,000 in unpaid personal property taxes.

"All of a sudden the equipment is not there to be taxed," City Manager James Norlund said Thursday.

The city, like other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, also lost its share of revenues -- $70,000 -- from the state tax on land transactions, or recordation tax, which state legislators agreed to return to localities last year. To help offset state revenue shortfalls of almost $2 billion, the return of those revenues to localities has been delayed for two years.

Another large loss -- $45,000 in real estate taxes -- resulted from delays in construction of new homes in the Signal Hill development.