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Posted at 9:51 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Alexandria Council seeks to increase next year's budget by 3.6%

By Christy Goodman

The Alexandria City Council agreed tonight to leave the city's property tax rate unchanged in the upcoming fiscal year, while it expects the budget to grow 3.6 percent.

The council unanimously instructed the city manager to build a budget for fiscal year 2012 using the existing real-estate tax rate of 97.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. Even so, officials expect Alexandria's revenues to increase next year as the city continues recovering from the economic recession.

The fiscal 2011 budget was $531.6 million.

The City Council said the starting document for the budget season should equally share the additional revenue with the city's public schools, said Bruce Johnson, the city's chief of finance.

However, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman recently told the council that he needs a budget increase of some 5 percent just to maintain current programs.

A commercial add-on tax to support new transportation projects will be included with partial offsets of business license taxes in the staff's budget.

City staff will not see an across-the-board salary increase for the fourth year. However, some merit-based raises can be included in the document. A program to adjust salaries over the next three years will be included, as will an increase in the staff's payment towards their health retirement benefits.

Employees also might see bonuses if they find a way to run their department more efficiently, saving the city money, in a new incentive program the city manager is developing.

The Arlington County Board instructed the county staff to provide a fiscal 2012 budget with a 1.14 percent increase.

By Christy Goodman  | November 23, 2010; 9:51 PM ET
Categories:  Alexandria, Arlington County, Budget, Christy Goodman  
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