By an anticipated 4-3 vote tonight, the Falls Church City Council acted to split a $2.8 million surplus from the previous fiscal year in three ways, including the money requested by the City Schools for technology upgrades, and a $900,000 rebate to real estate taxpayers.
The “3-Way” option was introduced by new Council member David Tarter and was backed in the final vote by another newcomer, Phil Duncan, as well as Ron Peppe and veteran Vice Mayor David Snyder. Mayor Nader Baroukh and Council members Johannah Barry and Ira Kaylin voted “no,” preferring an alternative so-called “hold harmless” option that the Schools opposed. The “hold harmless” option did not come up for a motion after the passage of the “3-way option” was moved, debated and voted on.
School Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones and School Board chair Susan Kearney sat in the audience to witness the debate, but did not speak.
It was also confirmed by Richard LeCondre, the City’s chief financial officer, and City Manager Wyatt Shields that expenditures in the fiscal year ending June 30 were $2.6 million below budget, and that only $1 million of that was due to planned expenses that technicalities prevented from being allocated before June 30.
The result was that a total $3.4 million surplus ($600,000 set aside for City legal expenses) was combined with a $1.5 million in non-spending for a net $4.8 million surplus as of June 30.