Falls Church News-Press Letters to the Editor: March 12 – 19, 2014
Rather than Raise Taxes, F.C. Should Contract Services
Wyatt Shields has presented a budget that will raise our real estate tax rate 4.5 cents per $100. Yikes! We will now have the highest taxes in Northern Virginia!
Real estate assessments have increased 6.77 percent (7.83% for single family homes), which already provides the City of Falls Church with a revenue increase, even if the tax rate stays the same. Additionally, the new stormwater fee represents another new revenue stream. With revenue increasing from both of these sources, why should we need to also raise the tax rate? Common sense would argue the Council should lower the tax rate to balance out the assessment increase.
The Council recently presented a chart of comparative tax rates, which shows that our surrounding jurisdictions, Arlington, Fairfax County, Alexandria City and Loudoun County have far lower tax rates. Obviously, these larger jurisdictions are able to achieve economies of scale in providing services that the City of Falls Church simply can’t match. That is, unless we try to achieve some modicum of efficiency by contracting out some of the city services that are so costly to provide on a small scale.
Does Falls Church really need to have its own arborist, for example, or would we be better served by contracting out our modest arboriculture requirements to either Arlington, Fairfax County, or even a private company?
The Falls Church City Council needs to go through the budget with a fine-tooth comb, looking for those services that would be more efficiently provided by contracting out. We simply cannot afford to continue to provide all of these services ourselves, and raise the tax rate over and over again to pay for these services. Many in the City are managing with extremely modest income increases. The council cannot continue to raise taxes in this environment.
Please consider contracting out more City services!
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