Fairfax City Council Adopts Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19; Real Estate Tax Rate Unchanged at $1.06
The City Council for the City of Fairfax has approved the city’s $142.0 million General Fund operating budget for fiscal year 2018-19, an increase of $1.9 million or 1.4 percent from the prior year. The total approved budget for all funds is $171.9 million, a 0.6 percent decrease from the previous fiscal year’s budget. The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
The FY 2019 budget reflects the strategic goals of the City Council, which seeks efficiencies and opportunities in service delivery, and work to increase the city’s commercial base. These initiatives include providing additional resources to the Economic Development effort, restructuring city communications and marketing functions, and committing additional resources to Human Services endeavors.
The City Council set the real estate tax rate at $1.06 per $100 of assessed value, a decrease of 2.25¢ from the City Manager’s proposed rate of $1.0825 and remains unchanged from the current year’s adopted rate of $1.06. The average residential homeowner’s tax bill increases 0.45 percent, based on a slight increase in assessed values. This equates to an additional $24 annual real estate tax based on the average residential home assessment of $504,197. The average commercial property owner’s tax bill increases by 0.4 percent from their prior year tax bill; based on a decrease of 0.4 percent in commercial real estate values and a 1.0¢ increase in the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) tax rate to 11.5¢ per $100 of assessed value. C&I funds are used exclusively toward new transportation projects in the city. Real estate taxes are assessed and paid on a calendar year basis.
The adopted budget includes a 0.25¢ increased allocation within the overall real estate tax rate dedicated to the city’s Stormwater Fund from the current adopted rate of 2.50¢ to 2.75¢ (included in the total real estate tax rate of $1.06). These funds are used to address aging stormwater infrastructure and to meet current and future regulatory requirements.
The Old Town Service District tax rate remains unchanged at 6.0¢ per $100 of assessed value.
The adopted General Fund budget funds Capital Fund expenditures of $6.5 million (excludes debt service of $9.8 million on capital projects), representing 4.6 percent of General Fund expenditures.
The city is contractually obligated to pay for City of Fairfax Schools instructional costs based on a per-student formula. Budgeted school contractual costs payable to Fairfax County increased by $691,907, or 1.4 percent.
City Council approved employee merit raises of up to 3.5 percent ($434,606) for qualified General Fund employees.
A wastewater utility rate increase of 10.0 percent was adopted to meet the significant number of capital projects and debt service costs relating to the city’s share of upgrades for Fairfax County’s Noman Cole wastewater treatment plant, the facility where the city’s wastewater is treated.
Highlights of the adopted budget include:
- General Fund expenditures and revenues of $142.0 million, an increase of 1.4 percent.
- Expenditures for all funds total $171.9 million, a decrease of 0.6 percent.
- Capital fund expenditures for General Fund supported projects of $6.5 million.
- Adopted real estate tax rate remains at $1.06 per $100 of assessed value.
- Assessed value of all real property increased $114,217,900 ($105,922,700 represents new construction), a 1.9 percent increase to $6,056,101,900.
- One cent on the real property tax rate is equivalent to $628,140 in tax revenue.
- No change to the personal property tax rate of $4.13 per $100 of assessed value.
- Commercial and Industrial real estate tax rate of 11.5¢ per $100 of assessed value dedicated for transportation improvements, an increase of 1.0¢ from the fiscal year 2017-18 rate of 10.5¢.
- Provides a 3.5% merit raise for eligible employees at a cost of $434,606 (General Fund). No cost of living adjustment (COLA) is provided in FY 2019; however, a 2.6% market adjustment was applied to employee pay scales to retain parity within the region.
- Wastewater utility rate increase of 10.0 percent for continued support of the long-term capital improvement program.
- Unassigned General Fund Balance increased to 11.7% of General Fund revenues in conformance with the Council’s updated Financial Policy. The Unassigned General Fund Balance is scheduled to maintain a 12.0% (of General Fund revenue) balance by FY 2020.
- Maintained funding for the city’s Housing Renaissance Program at $200,000 in FY19.
- Funded $265,000 for Economic Development Authority and Economic Development Office strategic initiatives.Continued support of the economic development programming, including the economic development authority, helping grow programs that create strong businesses, and developing the economic foundation of the city. In the coming fiscal year, the Economic Development Office will tackle a number of projects. Specifically, it is planning for more one-on-one engagement with the business community, long-term strategic planning to facilitate the development of local activity centers, and coordinated partnerships to position Fairfax as a Start-Up City.
• Positions added in the current year with continued funding in the FY 2019 budget:
- Communications Director (Communications & Marketing) additional 1.0 FTE
Significantly boosting the city’s ability to convey critical information to residents, businesses, visitors, media and the region about the city’s many programs and services via a range of media—from digital to video to print.
- Cable TV Video Producer/Director from part-time (.75) to full-time (Cable TV)
Upgraded from part-time to full-time, enhancing the city’s ability to educate and communicate to the citizenry.
- Communications Director (Communications & Marketing) additional 1.0 FTE
- Additional personnel resources added in the FY 2019:
- Community Development and Planning – Sustainability Coordinator
Upgraded from part-time to full-time, recognizing the city’s commitment to managing resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
- Economic Development – Business Development Associate
Full-time position, assisting with identifying prospective businesses and connecting them with property owners and brokers; assisting with program management; and building a cohesive business community.
- Fleet Maintenance – Administrative Assistant
Part-time position, providing administrative support for the City’s Fleet Maintenance effort.
- Human Services – Human Resources Director
Upgrade of part-time position to full-time position, reflecting the Council’s investment in delivering and providing greater accessibility to human service programs and advocating for greater social service resources for city residents in need. For example, developing an affordable housing policy, monitoring ADA requirements and communication of the available programs to residents.
The adopted budget will be posted on the city website by July 1. A limited number of printed copies of the adopted budget also will be available by July 1 in the Finance Department, located in Room 312 at City Hall, 10455 Armstrong Street.
For information on the fiscal year 2018-19 adopted budget, contact Budget Manager Kerry Kidd (email, 703-385-7876).