2024-07-15 7:27 PM

City Council Approves Next Year’s Budget with No Change to Real Estate Tax Rate

The Falls Church City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget and Capital Improvements Program at last night’s meeting.

“This year’s budget continues support for community priorities like school excellence, pedestrian safety, affordable housing, the environment, and fair pay while keeping our tax rate flat for the coming year,” said Mayor David Tarter. “Smart growth and economic development continue to pay dividends for our community. I want to thank all who participated in the budget process this year.”

The approved budget includes several items not included in the proposed budget. Most notably, the approved budget marks $800,000 of capital reserves to increase investment in street paving, traffic signal repair, and sidewalks. In addition, the City Council allocated contingency funds to support the Fourth of July Celebration and Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration, and puts $30,000 toward purchasing 100 percent renewable energy credits for City government operations and new energy data management software. These energy components will help the City reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

The approved budget supports other key initiatives. Examples include:

  • Competitive pay for the City Workforce
  • Fully funds the School Board budget
  • Funding to allow the Library to open for two additional weekend hours
  • An additional School Resource Officer
  • A new three-person rapid response crew that will focus on pedestrian and bike safety
  • Expansion of photo traffic safety enforcement programs
  • Adding to the Affordable Housing Fund

There are no changes to the current real estate tax of $1.23 per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s real estate tax bill will increase $364 or 3.4 percent due to the riding assessed property value.

The personal property tax (or “car tax”) will increase by $0.50 for a total of $4.80 per $100 of assessed value; however, a projected decrease in assessed value of vehicles will result in an average decrease of 8.8 percent in the bill.

To keep up with inflation, the sanitary sewer rate will increase 3 percent to $10.48 per 1,000 gallons, which equates to a $15 increase per year for a household. The stormwater fee will increase by 4 percent to $20.05 per 200 square feet of impervious area, which equates to about $11 increase per year for a household.

The proposed budget invests in the City’s workforce by funding recommendations from a classification and compensation study, a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and step increase for police, a 6 percent merit increase for all other employees, and professional development opportunities.

The FY2024 General Fund budget, inclusive of Schools and General Government, totals $119.16 million, which is a 5.6 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) provides a plan for investment in City schools, parks and fields, library, government facilities, transportation, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. The six-year CIP totals $154 million, and provides funding for transportation ($93 million), sanitary sewer ($24 million), facilities and parks ($25 million), and stormwater improvements ($12 million).

The CIP relies heavily on federal and state grants. No new tax payer supported debt is proposed until FY2027 in the General Fund. Debt issuance is planned only for the Sanitary Sewer Utility Fund in FY2024 to be paid by developer connection fees.

All budget materials and videos are available on the City’s website, www.fallschurchva.gov/Budget.

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