Fredericksburg city manager presents recommended FY 2025 budget

by | Mar 12, 2024 | ALLFFP, Fredericksburg, Government, Uncategorized

The 500-page binder that Fredericksburg City Manager Tim Baroody hauled before City Council on Tuesday evening contained the full details of a recommended Fiscal Year 2025 budget totaling $126.7 million. 

The budget Baroody presented at Tuesday night’s meeting marks a 4.3% increase from the city’s FY 2024 budget. 

Among the largest line items is the ongoing construction of a new $77 million middle school. The new school, which is set to open in summer 2025, will allow the city to operate three elementary schools, expanding capacity for the first time since 2004, Baroody said. The new school will also include space for career technical education at the middle-school level, a first in the city. 

The budget also includes the construction of Fire Station No. 3, which will be built in the area of Fall Hill Avenue near Wicklow Drive. While the city has added 14 new fire and rescue positions in the past decade, noted Baroody, station capacity hasn’t increased since 1984. 

While the city’s various departments and partner agencies requested 30 new positions for FY 2025, Baroody’s recommended budget includes just three: a police officer, an IT professional and a support person in the commissioner of revenue’s office. The city also plans to hire someone to assist part-time in its Public Information Office. 

Baroody’s recommended budget calls for a 2.5% pay increase across the pay scale for city employees.  

FY 2025 also coincides with a reassessment of real estate values done every four years. That assessment will then allow for an equalized real estate tax rate to be set. Based on preliminary estimates, the city projects an equalized tax rate of 72 cents per $100 of assessed value. 

To that number, the budget proposes adding four cents, plus a one-cent fire tax for an effective real estate rate of 77 cents. By comparison, the rate for FY 2024 is 89 cents, Baroody said.  

The recommended budget also calls for increasing the local tax on cigarettes from 31% to 40%, and raising the “admissions tax” from 6% to 7%. 

While the Fredericksburg City School Board recently delayed its vote on a budget that leaves a funding gap of $4.67 million, the city’s recommended budget closes just $1.9 million of that shortfall. Baroody said he’s in weekly communication with Superintendent Marci Catlett and “fully expects the gap to be further narrowed with state monies.” 

The school board and City Council are still scheduled to meet for a joint work session on April 2, Baroody said. Another date to watch regarding school funding is April 17, when the General Assembly will have an opportunity to address vetoes to bills made by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. 

A public hearing on the FY 2025 budget is scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m., at which time related public hearings on increasing the tax rate will be held. The City Council will need to approve the schools’ budget by May 15 and the entirety of the budget by June 30. 

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