With the economy entering into what could be a deep recession, private companies closing and their employees losing their jobs, this is a particularly poor time for the City of Alexandria to raise residential taxes by $600 to $9,240 for the average homeowner, while also increasing garbage collection fees by almost $50 or 12%, and raising stormwater fees by 4.5%.
The City Council should not raise the tax rate by 2.5 cents per $100, but should seek to prune a plump operating budget that is scheduled to increase by 4.5% or $35 million.
For starters, the Council needs to trim existing staff positions, rather than adding 34 additional employees. It should reconsider the proposed reduction in employee health insurance premiums from 20% to 15% and better target its across the board 1.5% hike in all city pay scales. Further, the City has long had a history of gold plating most of its projects and should instead exercise better discretion in spending taxpayer money.