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Manassas Budget Public Hearing Tonight

A public hearing begins tonight at 7:30 at City Hall for Manassas residents to share their thoughts on the 2013 budget and capital improvement plan.

Manassas residents will have an opportunity tonight to opine on the city's fiscal year 2013 budget and capital improvement plan, during a public hearing that begins at 7:30 p.m. in .

which begins July 1 and increases by more than $16 million over last year's budget, before council opens it for public opinion.

The  total FY 2013 budget recommended by council totals $320,627,368, an increase of 5 percent over last year. The sewer utility fund, electric utility fund and schools, which are seeing $5 million in additional funding from state and city revenue, are big players in the increase, according to a report presented last week by Council Member Marc Aveni.

Residents will see a 2 percent increase in electric rates and a 5 percent increase in solid waste fees. Aveni said the original increases were much larger but the utility commission tapped into a Rate Stabilization Fund to keep the increase lower. Aveni said sewer rates continue to cost more because the city must comply with the requirements of the Sewer Authority and Chesapeake Bay, where the city sends its waste water. 

Still, the city's sewer and electric rates are much more competitive than surrounding jurisdictions, Aveni said.

School funds under the FY 2013 recommended council budget total nearly $99 million, an increase of 5.3 percent over last year's funding. The increase of $5 million pays for the school's capital improvement plan, which includes money for new school buses and classroom trailers to deal with an increase in student enrollment;  maintenance at existing schools; and $3 million for a new central administrative office.

The remainder of the council's budget provides funding to support their strategic plan, which focuses on the following:

  • Postive Growth and economic development
  • Public safety
  • Neighborhood preservation and community engagement
  • Government stewardship and effectiveness

The city council is on track to pass the in May, which will result in a zero percent increase in the average tax bill, according to the recent report.

Real estate assessments were up in January,  giving the city a little bit more money to deal with, Aveni said.

As a result, the average real estate tax rate will decrease from $1.395 in 2012 to $1.366 in FY 2013 under the council's proposed budget. This will allow the city to maintain a 13 percent fund balance, increase the fire and rescue levy by half a cent to fund the new fleet plan and use no one-time sources of funding for operating expenditures, according to budget documents.

The average residential bill will go up by about $12 for a total average real estate tax bill of $2,934, and the average commercial tax bill will decrease by about $103 for a total average bill of $16,041, or a 0.6 percent decrease under the proposed budget.

The proposed budget if passed will also carry a nearly $9 million capital program plan to include over a $2 million for street paving and new vehicles for the city. The plan will also include $6 million for the city's Capital Improvement Plan, which includes money for undergrounding power lines, adding playground to schools and parks, Battle Street flooding design work, new sidewalks and an airport runway extension, among other things.

The budget will also continue to fund a Gang Task Force Officer and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Officer. . New positions being proposed include a full-time communications coordinator, museums programs coordinator, human resources manager and Family Services fraud specialist, among others.

The proposed employee compensation package includesthat's costing the city $248,000.

The public is encouraged to attend tonight's hearing on the council's proposed FY 2013 Annual Operating Budget and Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan, which includes additional expenditures to shared services with neighboring jurisdictions and local nonprofits. View the entire FY 2013 city council proposed budget

The buget public hearing will be followed by a hearing on the proposed effective real property rax rate.

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