Memo for fiscal year 2020, updated 2019-04-16

[Archived] Question #71: Please provide online comments received regarding Add/Delete proposals.


Please provide online comments received regarding Add/Delete proposals. (City Manager Jinks)


As of April 15, 2019, the following comments were received online regarding the City Council Add/Delete proposals. As a reminder, the public comment period on Add/Delete proposals will be open until Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 11:59pm.

Comment #1

We need to address the capacity issues in our schools. Alexandria has time and time again built multi residential homes in former commercial areas adding hundreds of new residents in places formally having none. Potomac Yard, Pickett Street and soon to be Landmark Mall. You cannot keep developing housing without accounting for schools, nor can you keep accounting for car traffic instead of walkability or bike lanes. I cannot help but notice all the lovely bike lanes in the luxury apartment areas, and lack thereof in older apartments and housing. The accessibility for people in the landmark area is atrocious and I can only hope that in these designs for more multi residential living that there will be a safer way for the less wealthy to walk across 395 now. I also hope you don’t continue to use the term EcoCity when all I see is that you will try to convert your own government buildings into greener technology and not help people who already live in these older homes to transition to greener energy. Climate change is real, the timeline is short, and we cannot keep going on with business as usual. This city is more than storm drainage and waste management, though I will say you do a good job with that. So I know you can accomplish what I have mentioned above. In short, I don’t think 100k to schools accounts for the capacity issues, and any more development that occurs, and I’m sure it will with Amazon coming, there needs to be a budget for building MORE schools. Not just one, but several. And in the front of your minds always and forever climate change needs to be involved in every aspect of your budgetary needs and in every decision you make. Not 10 years from now, NOW.

Comment #2

I urge that future Budget work sessions be required to have as a agenda item the challenge question: "What among the budget items is a nice but not critically necessary city service?" The objective of the mandatory question is to challenge those participating to consider if a savings can be attained by eliminating or reducing a city service. Either action can be attained by transferring the service to the private sector, effecting a public/private partnership or terminating it altogether. By making the challenge question mandatory, the Budget work sessions will no longer be spend-centric.

Comment #3

The city should propose a school budget that does not have a ceiling that limits how much is really needed at this time. Like all government budgets we do not know the capability based on the ultimate needs. There are many in this community that are will to pay a larger increase in taxes for better schools and education. It is still more cost effective than private school and could be just as competitive.

Comment #4

Reviewing much of the proposed adds/deletes it appears the council has funded most of those adds by reducing contingent reserves rather than prioritizing those adds against other city services. I am deeply concerned that council is limiting the city’s ability to address unknown contingencies, not only this year but in future years since many of the propose adds are reoccurring in nature.

The proposed increase of $100,000 to ACPS seems like an easy candidate to vote against. When compared to an overall operating budget of $300M a $100K increase is insignificant compared to city’s overall ability to address citywide contingencies.

Early childhood Capacity is an admirable add, but this add should be weighed against other services provided by the city and relative need. Information listed in question 18 shows the only 2 child-hood programs with a wait-list, one is a federally funded program and the other is a state funded program whose waitlist appears to be only a result of inability to purge the list. There is no significant city funded shortfall evident in response provided to budget question #18.

Family Unit Due rights process: What is the direct benefit to City of Alexandria of representing individuals where some estimates indicate that 90% of people arrested by ICE had a criminal conviction? I urge the council to vote no against this add. There are sufficient non-profit resources in Northern VA available for non-criminal immigrants facing deportation proceedings. Voting no on this proposal does not make the council or the city anti-immigrant. This is not a city service that city taxes should be paying for – allow city residents to determine on their own whether they want to contribute privately to non-profit resources.

Additional equity staff – This add seems unnecessary considering the City Manager’s proposed budget already includes a new position to restore multi-cultural services position. A need for additional staff can be easily deferred for a year and provide ample time to determine if resources from existing personnel are sufficient if reprioritized to address any needs identified.

SAFER Grant Local Obligation – While I am generally against targeting the contingent reserve funds, I would prefer much harder look throughout the budget first, I somewhat understand value generated by this through matching grants. However, I am concerned about the long-term add of this obligation as it grows to $900K per year in FY2023. While there may appear to be sufficient contingent reserves in FY2020 what is the long-term impact to the contingent reserve in FY2023 and ability to fund this without increasing taxes? I don’t believe that has been properly addressed and this is why I urge the council to propose deletions in other areas rather than take the easy approach of deleting from contingent reserves.

Inova Alexandria Deletion – I support this deletion by the City Council but would like to highlight the purpose listed on that deletion “The approved City Council budget guidance directs the staff and Council to focus resources on the core services of government and ensure efficient expenditure of taxpayer resources.” In relation to the family due rights proposal – is that proposal a core service of the City of Alexandria? My perspective it is not and I want to reinforce my previous opposition to the family due rights proposal.

Overall I am glad to see that there aren’t a significant number of fiscal additions that would necessitate tax increases. I urge the council to hold firm and NOT raise real estate or property taxes (excluding the property tax increase resulting from fee elimination as that is a direct offset). As you continue your three-year term, I would also urge you to look at opportunities to facilitate economic growth that widen the tax base while reducing the tax burden on businesses and residents.

Printable Version

Back to Budget Memo archive index

© 1995–2022 City of Alexandria, VA and othersPrivacy & LegalFOIA Requests