Monday night at the Falls Church City Council meeting, City Manager Wyatt Shields unveiled his recommended Fiscal Year 2021 City and schools’ balanced operating budget calling for no tax rate increase while topping $100 million for the first time in the City’s history.
The proposed budget grows by 3.3 percent, or 4.3 percent counting its draw from the City’s reserves, to $103.5 million. It includes $41,944,309 for the general government (up 2.8 percent), $44.791,527 as a transfer to the Falls Church City Schools (up 3.3 percent), $2,708,610 for WMATA (up 19.4 percent) and $14,726,532 for debt service (up 9.3 percent) to accommodate construction of the new high school and renovations of City Hall and the City library.
With this budget, the real estate tax rate will remain unchanged at $1.355 per $100 of assessed valuation, but with valuations up over 3 percent this year, the average household will pay $222 more in taxes (on a median value $725,000 home) this year. Shields said the formulation of this budget was “one of the calmest in years” because of the robust commercial revenue growth (including robust growth in revenues from sales, meals and business gross receipts taxes) that made it easier for the schools and City government, alike, to meet budget goals, including wage and salary increases, without pressing for any tax rate increases. He added, however, that $14 million needed for stormwater flood mitigation projects in the City would require an average additional $23 per year for the average home for next six years to fund.