What is the budget?
The budget is the City’s financial plan for the coming year that identifies the revenues and expenditures to ensure that core local government services are delivered. These services include: police, fire protection, public schools, courts, trash and recycling, health and family services, storm water, sewer, library, road maintenance and snow removal, recreation and parks, building inspections, just to name a few. The budget includes both operating (the daily expenses of operations) and capital (infrastructure items with a longer useful life cycle).
How is the budget developed?
The City’s budget process starts in the fall when the Chief Financial Officer presents preliminary revenue and expenditure trends and projections to the City Council and School Board. The Council develops and adopts the annual budget guidance for the City Manager, and over the winter months City staff work with the City Manager to develop the proposed budget. The School Superintendent develops the proposed school budget and presents it to the School Board in January. In March, the City Manager presents a proposed budget to the City Council, which includes general government expenditures, and by the City Charter, must incorporate the full funding request by the School Board. The City budget,
including revenue projections, City expenditures, School expenditures, and Capital Improvements Program is reviewed by the City Council and revised as necessary after a series of town hall and work session meetings, and adopted in late April.
What is the City’s fiscal year?
For the City of Falls Church, the fiscal year (FY) is July 1 to June 30. For example, FY2022 runs July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. The fiscal year is referred to by the year in which it ends -- in the above example, the shorthand is FY2022.
What is the General Fund? School Transfer? Enterprise Fund?
The General Fund is one of several accounts that form the City’s budget. The General Fund contains all revenue and expenses related to the City’s core services, including expenses for debts issued. The two big components of the General Fund are Schools (see School transfer, below) and General Government, which includes police, recreation and parks, human services, library, development services, public works, finance and administration.
The School Transfer is comprised of the local tax dollars that fund 82% of the Falls Church City Schools and is part of the General Fund.
Enterprise Funds are the separate, self-sustaining funds for storm water and sanitary sewer operations that are fully funded by user fees.
How Can I Have a voice in the budget deliberations?
The budget process is designed to gather the input necessary to ensure that it reflects the values and priorities of the City’s citizens and taxpayers. You have the opportunity to weigh in on the level of city services and the tax rates that you expect by speaking at Council public hearings and town hall meetings or by sending emails to Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) and email@example.com.
An easy way to find up to date information about the budget and public meeting dates is on the City website, www.fallschurchva.gov/Budget.