City Hall shoots itself in the foot with its budget shortfall solution

City Hall shoots itself in the foot with its budget shortfall solution

By Dino Drudi, Alexandria
(File Photo) 

To the editor:

The following is a quote from “Taxes, fees set to increase in fiscal 2015,” in the May 1 edition of the Alexandria Times: “According to City Manager Rashad Young’s $634 million draft budget proposal, revenue before added tax increases only grew by 1.58 percent.”

According to City Hall’s estimate, Alexandria’s population grew by 0.9 percent and the federal inflation for urban consumers ran at 1.5 percent. City council’s extra half-cent tax rate increase makes some sense given that city population growth plus inflation comes to 2.4 percent.

Surely City Hall will insist — with commercial property assessments up 2 percent and residential property assessments up 5 percent — real estate is doing OK, but consumption-based taxes are hurting right now. If so, expanding parking meter hours is likely to further hurt consumption-based tax revenues.

Just like Congress, City Hall can’t bring itself to say no to powerful constituent groups, preferring to continue underwriting ephemeral services such as a senior taxi, overstaffing fire stations to support all the additional development it is allowing or investing in city services that generate consumption-based tax revenues.