Alexandria budget increases school funding, raises recycling, transportation fees

Schools in Alexandria, Virginia, will get more money during the 2020 fiscal year, but it’s going to cost taxpayers more to recycle and take the bus.

The Alexandria City Council Wednesday adopted a budget of $761.5 million for the 2020 fiscal year. The budget is an increase of 1.75% over the current year.

Real estate tax rates will remain unchanged at $1.13 per $100 of assessed value. This would increase the average homeowner’s tax bill by 1.9% or $118 per year, based on 2019 real estate assessments.

  • Public schools will get $231.7 million in operating funds, an increase of 3.5% or $7.8 million.
  • Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program will get $1.62 billion over 10 years.
  • The fee for trash and recycling will go up 10.2% — or $38, from $373 to $411.The higher trash and recycling costs are the result of higher contractor costs and China;s new strict recycling standards. WasteSmart initiatives will be funded through $5 of the annual fee increase.
  • Vehicle personal property tax will increase to $5.33 per $100 of assessed value. The 33-cent increase per $100 comes as the city gets rid of its $33 annual decal fee.
  • DASH Bus fares may increase a quarter to $2, pending approval by the Alexandria Transit Company’s board of directors. The monthly DASH pass would increase from $45 to $50. Those increases would not go up until fall.

Alexandria City’s fiscal year 2020 budget increases lighting along King Street, expands early childhood services and nutrition assistance services for low income residents at farmers’ markets.

The budget also helps immigrants facing deportation through what the city described as a “due process universal representation access program” and also “approved the necessary local match if a federal grant is funded to increase firefighter staffing,” according to a news release from the city. The budget will fund a new 311 customer service system and upgraded online features. There will be improvements to energy efficiency and air quality features to city vehicles, facilities and streetlights; 100% of city government energy use will be linked to renewable wind, solar and/or biomass resources.

The City Manager’s Office gets a new racial and social equity officer position under the new budget and affordable housing programs are getting $6 million this year, up $1 million from last fiscal year.

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