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Dumfries’ Budget Increases with Saved Funds

Dumfries, Va. –– Virginia’s oldest chartered town will spend $4.3 million in operating costs over the next year.

Town officials Tuesday night approved its fiscal year 2012 operating budget, which is $382,000 higher than the previous year’s budget, according to town documents.

The budget increase comes as property values in the town have declined, but Dumfries Town Manager Kimberley Alexander said the budget is higher this year because officials injected monies into the budget that had been in reserve.

“There was an actual decrease in the overall budget, as the money that we’ve used to increase the budget has for years been in escrow accounts. The majority of it is state grant funds,” said Alexander.

Prior to the vote, a public meeting was held to discuss the next year’s budget but no one spoke, said Alexander.

The new budget didn’t pass unanimously, as Councilwoman Kristin Forrester and Councilman Gerald Foreman voted against the measure.

In a budget proposed by Forrester, she says her plan would have reduced the town’s tax rate by 4 cents and still would have funded a new park project and would have initiated a night shift differential for town police.

The approved budget reduces the tax rate by 2 cents, said Forrester.

“Our tax rates were raised significantly, and when that happened the council and town staff told citizens it would be raised for two cycles.  Instead of lowering it after two cycles, we have found other priorities to spend money on,” she added.

A newly redesigned website for the town was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Officials did not say when they plan to launch the new site.

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