Alexandria City Council Passes Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Alexandria, Virginia City Council
Last night, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to adopt a $649.2 million General Fund Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, and an All Funds budget of $816.3 million, which represent increases over the current year of 1.9% and 1.4%, respectively.  The adopted budget includes a $198.8 million transfer to schools, a 3.6% increase over FY 2015 funding and nearly 57% of all new General Fund revenue. The adopted budget includes no increase in any tax rate, and provides for $1.6 billion of investments over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program. FY 2016 begins on July 1, 2015.

“This budget maintains Alexandria’s commitment to high-quality services and long-term community investment, without raising taxes or cutting core services,” said Mayor William D. Euille.  “We thank the City Manager and budget staff for a strong proposal, and our residents and businesses for engaging with us to help ensure that this budget reflects community needs.”

The adopted budget incorporates City Council’s Strategic Plan, analysis from the City’s Five-Year Financial Plan, the five budget priorities first adopted by the previous city manager, and extensive input from community engagement meetings and online forums.

City Council’s action adds several new investments to the operating funds originally proposed by the City Manager in March.  The most significant additions are $1.3 million to accelerate staffing a fire engine at Station 210 on Eisenhower Avenue in FY 2016, and an additional $1 million for the Alexandria City Public Schools. City Council also added $60,000 to continue the operation of the Alexandria Law Library with reduced hours, and made available $250,000 of capital funds for improvements to the Matthew Maury Elementary School play yard.  The FY 2016 adopted budget continues the 2.2 cent tax reservation for the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for transportation related priorities, including 16 new bikeshare stations (for a total of 32), and continued operation of new DASH routes implemented in prior years.

The budget underscores the City’s investment in its workforce, funding merit increases for employees who earn them through performance, increasing starting pay for police officers and providing an across-the-board salary increase for all other sworn police positions at a cost of $2.1 million, and adding an additional step to the firefighter/paramedic career ladder.

City Council’s approval of this budget continues the approach begun in FY 2015 to align how the City does business with the principles set forth in the City’s Strategic Plan and the City Manager’s Performance Plan. Working in Focus Area Teams, staff built a budget framework that directly linked the money Alexandria spends on providing programs and services to the results the community values.

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