On the Docket: How to Spend the County Carryover

Sharon Bulova/File photoThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is back from its summer recess. For one of its first tasks in September, the board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday on how to spend $11 million left over from Fiscal Year 2014, which ended in June.

County Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova calls the carryover a “relatively modest” balance when considering the county’s $3.7 billion budget.

The carryover is “mostly the result of savings efficiencies,” Bulova said in a county video previewing the Sept. 9 supervisors’ meeting.

Some of the Reston-area projects that came out spending less than usual: Plaza America pedestrian improvements ($99,000) and the new Reston District Police Station ($800,000). To see an itemized list of projects, their costs/savings and the entire carryover presentation, visit Fairfax County’s website.

“We are still not out of the woods yet,” said Bulova. “Both the county and the state are affected by sequestration and federal cutbacks, which has impacted our public sector. Fairfax County Public Schools also have a positive balance of $23 million after absorbing the cost of all-day Mondays for the elementary schools.”

The school board voted last spring to eliminate elementary schools’ early release Mondays, which had been the schedule for decades. This allows for additional class time and built-in instructional time to absorb snow days, but also will cost the school system millions in extra costs. There has been internal criticism that the board acted without having the financial impact analyzed.

Bulova said the supervisors plan to make a transfer of $7.6 million to schools as “guidance for FY2016 in order to accommodate the recurring cost of the program.”

Overall, most of the money is likely to remain in reserves in order to pay for items in FY2016,  which begins in July 2015, says Bulova.

“I plan to recommend that the balance of the 2014 budget be held in reserve in order to assist with the upcoming fiscal year,” Bulova said.

File photo of Fairfax County Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova

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