Mayor Allison Silberberg’s vote against the city’s 2018 budget on May 4 was a badge of courage that all Alexandria should appreciate. She stood by the innovative budget proposal put forward by the city manager. That budget increased property taxes by 2.7 cents per hundred and added a stormwater fee that together would jump the average homeowner’s tax burden in 2018 about $370, a substantial increase. To that must be added an increased sewer fee, paid on the water bill and expected to grow 500 percent over this decade. The manager’s budget more than adequately would have met current and future needs.
Seemingly without regard for the taxpayer impact, Vice Mayor Wilson then proposed to add additional 3 cents per hundred — increasing the tax burden significantly for the average homeowner. And what would that money be used for? A $12 million “contingency fund,” with no specified purpose. Nonetheless, the majority of the council went along with Mr. Wilson — and Alexandria taxpayers all will be getting the hefty bill early in 2018.
As a retiree I am very sensitive to this “piling on” of taxes. For people on fixed incomes, small business owners and families with modest incomes whose biggest investment is in their homes, a 3 cent per hundred add-on has a real impact. Mayor Silberberg understands this and stood strong — a lone voice on council for fiscal restraint.