The Alexandria City Council voted on Monday night to adopt a budget for next year without my vote. But I was justified in my dissenting vote. I was elected by Alexandrians to provide a different voice that has not been present on the Council for several years. I came into this process with a sense of optimism and a willingness to work with my colleagues. In the end, as I made clear throughout the process, I could not support a budget that increased the city’s spending over last year while also raising taxes and increasing personnel costs.
In February the city manager presented his budget of $534 million, which was $4 million more than last year’s budget of $530 million. I became concerned about the increase in spending and additional taxes to Alexandrians in the most challenging economic environment of our lifetimes.
\With federal income taxes certain to increase in the near future, it is important that we as local leaders do everything we can to protect your prosperity on a local level. If you have a family, a job or are part of the 57 percent of Americans that pay federal income taxes, your opportunities and freedoms are being taken away every time government expands.
This is the first city budget process I have participated in, and it is has not been an easy task. However, I was very clear throughout the budget process that I will not go to the taxpayers and say that I voted for a budget that does all three of the following: (1) increases the city’s spending over last year; (2) raises taxes; and (3) increases the city’s personnel costs.
Without my colleagues willing to compromise on just one of these three important issues to the citizens of Alexandria, I was forced to vote against the budget.
My vote against this budget is not a vote against the core services provided by the city. But it is a vote against a lack of compromise. I look forward to continuing to serve the fine citizens of Alexandria in the years to come. I hope the Council can come to a consensus next year and adopt a unanimous budget in line with the goal of one Alexandria.
Frank Fannon is an Alexandria City Councilman.