F.C. City Council Tilts To Library Fund Restoration, Added Bonuses & Taxes

As the hour approached midnight tonight, the Falls Church City Council completed an exhaustive work session on the budget that set the stage for what it hopes to be a definitive session on Thursday to set the parameters for the coming fiscal year budget. While the final vote on the budget will not come until April 25, and a town hall meeting has been set for this Saturday morning to receive more citizen input, the Council is angled toward tying most of its budget work up in the next couple of days.

At tonight’s work session, a number of areas of consensus among Council members were achieved, with final details in most cases awaiting further crunching of numbers based on some of those agreed-to matters.

The general agreements included the following: 1. the improvements to City Hall be limited to “critical” needs and not to new construction, 2. that some seriously-needed park maintenance improvements be funded, 3. that City Manager Wyatt Shields’ recommendation to impose a five-cent commercial property tax overlay be ditched this year, pending more work with the City’s business community to arrive at some specific economic development-related uses for funds derived from such an overlay, 4. that Shields’ proposal for cuts in library services be dropped and funding be maintained at the current level, 5. that increases in auto decal fees and the personal property tax rate by four percent provide added revenues, 6. that City employees be compensated significantly above the level proposed by Shields, probably by converting Shields’ plan for a two-percent salary increase into a $1,300 bonus that would be supplemented up to another $700, 7. an increase in the real estate tax rate above the level of $1.25 (per $100 assessed valuation) proposed by Shields last month, but shy of the $1.28 he’s now proposing.