Alexandria property taxes, fees may go up under new budget

WASHINGTON — Property taxes would go up in Alexandria, and residents may be hit with new and higher fees, under a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

“Alexandria is at a crossroads,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “My proposals reflect a future-oriented path by prudently investing in needed services, public buildings and infrastructure,” he said.

But Jinks admitted that his path will be “costly.”

Under the spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year, which starts in July, property taxes would go from $1.073 to $1.10 per $100 of assessed value, leading to an increase in the average homeowner’s tax bill of nearly $200 each year.

Garbage collection fees would rise by $10; monthly parking fees at city-owned garages would also go up by $10, and there would be a 30 percent increase in the sanitary sewer fee, from $1.40 to $1.82 per 1,000 gallons of water used. City officials said the money generated from the sewer fee would help pay for new sewer regulations that are expected to be handed down by the General Assembly.

“In the face of anemic revenue growth and increasing expenditure demands, we can choose the path of reduced services and foregone investments in public buildings and infrastructure. This path may lead to short-term fiscal relief, but it is not sustainable,” Jinks wrote in the budget plan.

A brand-new fee would be imposed on home and business owners: Starting in January 2018, property owners would need to pay a stormwater utility fee, similar to ones assessed in other jurisdictions such as D.C. and Montgomery County.

Proposed annual rates for the new fee are $58.80 for town houses, $140 for detached houses and $233.80 for large detached houses.

Public schools would get more than $240 million under the budget proposal. City officials call for spending $2 billion on capital improvements over a decade, including $160 million to improve Metro safety and reliability and $144 million for projects related to Alexandria’s public school system.

The City Council plans to hold 10 work sessions throughout the spring to review the proposal.

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