Updates from Letty – March 9, 2018
Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council
In contrast to the big retail news this week, we had a brief work session as we gear up for the start of the FY19 budget season. This week, we reviewed the first draft of the Council work plan, which includes our top priorities for the next two years. Community input is very welcome, as we will continue to refine the work plan before adoption at end of the month so we can begin executing that plan. While the work plan is the document that describes the priorities of the Council, the budget is the document on how to deliver and fund those priorities.
Next week’s meeting will be all about the FY19 budget – it will be the eagerly anticipated presentation of the City Manager’s budget for the entire city, which will include a presentation by the School Board Chair of the schools’ requested budget. While we wait for Monday, I’ve included links below to our neighbors’ budget information that I’ve been reading, which I think is important context.
How can you get involved? After the presentation, there will be a number work sessions and town hall meetings (see the schedule below) over the next 6 weeks where we’ll be working through the details and hearing questions and feedback from the community before final budget adoption on 4/23. City Council will be meeting every week between now and 4/23! I know evening and weekend meetings can be tough – so even if you can’t attend meetings, you can watch them livestreamed/recorded online or on FCC-TV at home, send in questions and feedback or stop by one of my office hours to give me input. Note there is a town hall next Sunday March 18, at 2 pm (with the Women’s History Walk following at 4 pm) at the Community Center.
What Happened This Week:
(1) City Council Work Plan:
As one of the key outputs from our retreat last month, we reviewed a first draft of the Council work plan – you’ll see priorities organized by theme: Vibrancy, Affordability, Resiliency/Sustainability, Core Government Services, Deliver CIP. Based on the feedback we discussed this week and the importance of continuing to add and diversify our revenue base, I expect Economic Development will get pulled out as another theme.
For those interested in what our Boards and Commissions do, this provides a comprehensive snapshot of their priorities and many cross B&C collaboration opportunities.
(2) FY19 Budget – info from our neighbors:
- Arlington County – County Board vote no tax rate increase, staying at $1.006 per $100 of assessed value and a budget that requires cuts in services and staffing to close a $20M revenue-expenditure gap: https://budget.arlingtonva.us/fy-2019-budget-information/
- Fairfax County – proposed 2.5 cents tax increase to $1.155 per $100 of assessed value : https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/fy-2019-proposed-budget-investing-in-our-county-priorities/
- City of Alexandria – proposed no tax change, staying at 1$.13 per $100: https://www.alexandriava.gov/budget/info/default.aspx?id=102267
- City of Fairfax – proposed 2.25 cents increase to to $1.0825 per $100: http://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/finance/budget
Note that even in the jurisdictions with no proposed tax rate increases, it’s likely homeowners and businesses will see an increase in tax bills due to increase in property assessments across the region. In Falls Church – it’s old news by now, but you should have already received your 2018 property assessments, where we saw increased assessments of 3.4% overall.
Meanwhile, we are also awaiting the General Assembly to deliver a state budget, which likely won’t happen when it ends its regular session this week. The impasse appears to be over Medicaid expansion. For our region importantly, the state budget could help provide Virginia’s share of funding to WMATA which will still require local revenues and has been a significant impact to our city budget.
What’s Coming Up:
- Monday, March 12 – City Council Meeting (City Manager presents FY19 Budget)
- Sunday, March 18 – “Sunday Series” Town Hall Meeting (GMHS/WFC + FY19 Budget) at 2 pm
- Sunday, March 18 – Women’s History Walk at 4 pm
- Monday, March 19 – City Council Work Session
- Monday, March 26 – Annual Pinwheel Garden Planting to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month
- Monday, March 26 – City Council Meeting
- April 1 – Letty’s Office Hours (9 am) *may be rescheduled due to Easter holiday
- April 2 – City Council Work Session
- April 8 – “Sunday Series” Town Hall Meeting (GMHS/WFC + FY19 Budget)
- April 9 – City Council Meeting
- April 16 – Letty’s Office Hours (9 am)
- April 16 – City Council Work Session
- April 23 – City Council Meeting (FY19 Budget Adoption)