The City Council approves a budget each year to fully serve its 16,000 residents, school system, businesses, and the community in general. The process to adopt a new budget for the next fiscal year is a collaborative experience involving input from City employees and departments, the Falls Church City Public School administration, City Council, and community members.
The City's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30; for example, FY2024 begins on July 1, 2023 and ends June 30, 2024. The City Manager typically presents the proposed budget in mid-March. After a number of public hearings, town hall meetings, and work sessions, the City Council typically adopts the budget in late April or early May. A timeline of meeting dates, public hearings, and town halls is available here.
The following concepts are helpful to review to understand the budget process.
Tax Rates and Fees
The City Council has the power to levy certain taxes as described in Sec. 2.02 of the City Charter. In the City of Falls Church this includes taxes on real estate, personal property, consumer utilities, gross business receipts, and more. City Council reviews these tax rates yearly within the budget cycle to determine the best course of action and adopt tax rates for the next fiscal year.
The City Council also sets fee rates on development services, public works, and other public services.
During the budget process, a booklet containing contextual materials is drafted. This document is continually revised as the budget develops, and it solidifies once the budget is adopted. The budget book describes the city's goals in crafting the budget, provides economic forecasts for the upcoming fiscal year, lists all appropriations in the budget, and includes other useful information to help understand the budget. The budget book is included in agenda materials when the budget is under consideration.
The current Fiscal Year Adopted Budget can be found here.
The five-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) identifies capital needs of the community and indicates how these needs will be funded over the five year period. In general, only projects that cost more than $150,000 and have a useful life in excess of five years qualify for funding in the CIP. The CIP is updated annually and is subject to change with each update.
The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is an audit of the City's financial activities. This report provides several lenses of analysis on the city's financial activities and includes reports necessary to confirm compliance with legal requirements.
The most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report can be found here.