Members of Herndon's Town Council received copies of the proposed fiscal year 2006 budget on March 31 to review before its April 5 work session.
At its work session, council members offered comment to what they felt could use some tweaking.
Overall members felt staff did a good job, but council members Steven Mitchell, Ann Null and Dennis Husch expressed that they thought the tax rate should be decreased more than the suggested one cent reduction.
The current proposal has the rate reduced from 28 cents per $100 to 27 cents per $100.
Mitchell said he would like to see the rate reduced by at least five cents, and increase in the meals tax to make up the difference of revenue to the town.
"I don't think that's too much to ask of a community," said Mitchell, "that has 18,000 people come into town during the day and use our services and our roads."
Null said she would like to see the real estate rate reduced even more, suggesting an eight cent reduction.
Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget April 12 to hear resident comment, and will hold another work session April 19 to discuss any changes.
The following are highlights of the FY 2006 budget, which is available for public review in the Department of Human Resources located at the Herndon Municipal Center, 777 Lynn Street.
* Total Budget Expenditures: $37,043,376 — a decrease of 2.2 percent from last year's budget.
This encompasses all funds including General, Water and Sewer, Golf Course, Chestnut Grove Cemetery and Downtown Parking.
* Recurring Budget Expenditures: $32,998,088 — an increase of 6 percent from last year's adopted budget.
This includes personnel, operations, maintenance, debt service and minor capital improvements.
* General Fund Expenditures: $28,905,933 — a decrease of 5 percent from FY 2005 adopted budget.
* Real Estate Tax: $0.27 per $100 of assessed value, down one cent from last year.
* One Penny on the Real Estate Tax Rate: Equivalent to approximately $332,390 in tax revenues — includes assessed value of public service corporations and real property assessments.
* Average Residential Property Value: Projected at $315,654.
* Average Residential Real Estate Tax Bill: $852.27 per year based on the average $0.27 per $100 of assessed value.
* Personal Property Tax Rate: Remains at $0.00 per $100 assessed value.
* Meals Tax: Remains at the current rate of 1.5 percent.
* Mobile Local Telecommunications Service (cell phone tax): Remains at rate of 10 percent on the first $30 billed monthly.
* Cigarette Tax: Remains at $0.35 per pack.
* Business, Professional and Occupational License Tax: All classifications and thresholds will remain at the current amounts.
* Motor Vehicle License Fee: $20 for private passenger and other vehicles weighing less than 4,000-pounds; $25 for vehicles weighing in excess of 4,000-pounds.
* Consumer Utility Tax: Remains at $3 per utility — tax based on the purchase of utility services within corporate limits of the Town.
* Sewer Service Rate: Remains at $3.12 per 1,000 gallons of water consumption.
* Sewer Availability Fee: Remains at $4,621 for new, single-family house.
* Sewer Lateral Repair and Replacement Program: Remains at $2 per year ($0.50 per quarter).
*Recycling Fee: Remains at $14 per year ($2.50 per quarter).
* Water Service Rate: Remains at $1.92 per 1,000 gallons of water.
* Water Availability Fee: Remains at $2,760 for new, single-family homes.
* Personnel: $19,939,628 — a 4.5 percent increase based on pay-for-performance. Sworn police personnel will receive a 3.07 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which will be applied as a salary adjustment and a 5 percent performance increase. In addition, a 4 percent pay adjustment is being studied to stay competitive with Fairfax County.
* Capital Improvement Program: $2,973,600 — all funds.
Water and sewer rates are currently being studied and may be increased later in the year to meet future needs.
Citizens will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed budget and the Capital Improvement Program at public hearings April 12 and 26, 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.