The Falls Church City Council came out of a lengthy, heavily-attended work session at City Hall last night still unresolved on how it will deploy the more than $3 million surplus from the Fiscal Year 2012 that ended last July 1. The matter will come down to a vote at the Council’s next official business meeting next Monday.
The primary issue centers on whether or not the Council will permit the School Board to determine how a portion of that surplus designated for its use will be spent, or whether the Council will mandate that it all be set aside for future capital improvement needs. The School Board is adamant that it needs to utilize $500,000 for badly-needed laptop computer upgrades for students at all levels of its system, something it had given up in an effort to help the Council balance its budget last year, before the unexpected surplus developed.
There was no consensus out of a sharply divided City Council last night, although a key swing vote in how next Monday’s showdown will play out – Vice Mayor David Snyder – seemed to indicate that he “wanted to help the schools,” which could prove decisive. Snyder was absent at the July 23 meeting when the Council voted, 3-2, to back a last-minute proposal to dedicate the surplus entirely to future CIP needs.
Ron Peppe was the only Councilman not present last night, but he’d sent a note to colleague Phil Duncan making his pro-school request position clear once again. Mayor Nader Baroukh ended the debate last night short of a consensus, saying more discussion between then and next Monday among Council members.