F.C. Will Grow Faster Than Region Due to Development, LaCondre Says

With 40 percent of its projected revenue growth coming from mixed use development projects, including two that will be completed early next year, the City of Falls Church will enjoy a healthier net rise in its revenue projections for the coming fiscal year than other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, F.C. Chief Financial Officer Richard LaCondre told the F.C. City Council and School Board at a joint work session Tuesday night. The City’s total growth will remain a modest three percent, however, due to downward pressures on the whole region stemming from “a significant multi-year drop in federal procurement activity” and “a high commercial vacancy rate,” LaCondre added.

Still, Falls Church will do better than the 2.2 percent projected growth for Fairfax County and the 1.9 to 2.4 percent growth in Arlington, he reported. The growth projection is without any tax rate increase, he noted, which will become an issue for the City as the next budget round begins just after the first of the year. As it now stands, at $1.325 per $100 of assessed valuation, the City’s real estate tax rate is the second lowest among all the smaller jurisdictions in the region.

“The City of Falls Church is in a relatively strong financial position,” LaCondre reported, although outstanding “identified capital needs of $144 million are a significant challenge to its financial capacity.” All but $39 million of that total, however, is for new high school and middle school projects, whose impacts will be mitigated by economic development and will accompany the development of the 35-acre school development site now being planned. The capital plan includes a public parking garage in the 300 block of Park Avenue adjacent the public library.