- March 27 City Council meeting and work session
- April 10 City Council meeting (public hearing) and work session
- April 24 City Council meeting and work session
- May 2 City Council meeting (public hearing) — budget adoption
It should be noted that we are adopting the budget on May 2 and not on April 26 as was previously advertised. The reason is that the Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors won't be adopting their budget until May 1. Given that we have a variety of contracts with the County (namely our school tuition contract), we need to see what they approve before we adopt our budget.
As we all go through the budget process, it's important to keep in mind that a large driver of our budget (and any tax increase) is our surging school-age population. This is a good thing in the sense that more City kids in the classroom reflects renewed interest in the City and people making roots here. It also means that more of our budget needs to go to providing a world class education for our children in our public schools.
We also have community-driven needs to maintain our best-in-class services and where we have the funding, make additional investments in our roads, parks and other infrastructure.
Yet at the same time we are still in an uncertain economy, even in this area as the Federal government looks to cut back, which has a detrimental impact on those who work for companies that support the Federal government's mission.
Hence, our balancing act is to provide great services for the lowest cost and making sure that our taxpayers are getting a good return on their taxpayer dollar. To that end, the City Council set an advertised tax rate of $1.01 per $100 of assessed property value, which is 3.5 cents lower than the City Manager's recommended. This advertised rate is not the final rate. This rate is what's advertised to the public and can go lower, but cannot go higher. I voted for this rate because I do not believe we should impose a 14 percent tax increase on our residents as was originally recommended. Yet at the same time I felt like we needed more flexibility with our budget and wanted to ensure that we continue to make investments in our infrastructure and maintain a high level of service. I expect that after all is said and done we actually may see a lower tax rate, but we'll have to wait and see as we go through budget deliberations.
This is a tough budget year, no doubt. One of the toughest in the City's 50 year history as I have been told. But we've gotten through some tough budgets over the last three years and we'll rise to the challenge again, ensuring that we still have the premium services our residents expect and deserve.