Manassas Park City Council is set to vote on the city’s $34.6 million 2012-2013 fiscal year budget tonight—a budget that could mean raises for city employees and more money for schools.
The city isn’t expecting any major shortfalls in its budget because each department took cost-saving measures, city manager James “Jim” Zumwalt told council in February, when he presented the proposed budget.
These measures included hiring freezes for vacant city positions (including the deputy fire chief position), delays in making new hires to save money on salaries, reducing the use of fuel and electricity by five percent and reducing printing and copying costs.
The 2013 budget includes:
- $17.3 million city operating budget
- $6.4 million debt service transfer
- $10.6 million school operating fund transfer
The city’s debt service is set to increase by some $3.6 million in fiscal year 2016-2017, city officials said. To prepare for that increase, the governing body decided to hold spending growth over the next few years to 0.5 percent a year.
The city could have opted to refinance its debt to makes things easier in the short run but council decided against that because it would have costed taxpayers an additional $4 million over the next 25 years, the city manager said in an earlier report.
Proffer payments made to the city by developers will be earmarked for the restoration of the city’s general fund balance, which has dwindled to dangerously low levels over the years. The low fund balance was a factor in the city’s credit rating being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service.
Standard & Poor's gives the city a credit ranking of BBB—eight levels from the top ranking of AAA and five levels below the city's ranking at this time last year.
Moody's has the city at a A3, two levels below it's ranking in December of A1 and six levels from the top ranking of Aaa.
No changes in the property tax rate are anticipated. It is expected to remain at $1.65 per $100 of the accessed value of the property.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Park Community Center.