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This Week: Speak Up on Fairfax County’s Budget

by Karen Goff — April 4, 2016 at 1:30 pm 10 Comments

Fairfax County Budget 2017/Courtesy Fairfax County

Fairfax County is facing potential cuts to services and the public schools as the Board of Supervisors prepares to vote on the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget.

But the public has several chances to speak up on what is important as the supervisors will hold public hearings on the advertised tax rate rise and the budget in general on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.

The supervisors are preparing to vote on the budget on April 19. The 2016 budget remains in effect until June 30.

They will also discuss the county’s third quarter package, which contains savings and spending requirements such as additional costs related to snow removal and savings related to current fuel costs that result in no net General Fund impact.

County Executive Ed Long has recommended $20.5 million in previous one-time balances be used to increase reserve levels and to be utilized by the Board. Long’s recommendations for use of these funds:

  • $10.25 million to continue to build the county’s budget reserves.
  • $10.25 million available for the Board to consider allocating to one-time uses, which could include: Making additional contributions to reserves.
    Putting funds aside for future development opportunities.
  • Continuing to address the backlog of county infrastructure needs.
  • Meeting one-time capital requirements at various facilities.

As far as the 2017 budget, Long recommended and the supervisors approved an advertised tax rate rise of 4 cents per $100 of home value for Fairfax’s $3.99 billion budget.

That means the average Fairfax County homeowner will see a rise of about $303 on their tax bill as they will be taxed $1.13 per $100 of home value. That will give the county an extra $23 million in FY 2017.

That still might not be enough to fully fund Fairfax County Public Schools, though. Superintendent Karen Garza has asked for a 6.7 percent rise over last year’s county transfer in order to give staff raises, keep elementary school classes below 30 students and keep extracurricular and special academic programs intact.

The schools annually receive about 52 percent of the county’s $3.99 billion budget. The county has offered a 3-percent increase (to about $2 billion) for the schools, which leaves a gap of over $67 million.

Have something to say about the budget. Here is the public hearing schedule:

  • April 5, 4 p.m. (following  3 p.m. public hearing on tax rate)
  • April 6, 1 p.m.
  • April 7, 1 p.m.

Hearings take place at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. They will also be shown live on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.

  • meh

    Come on Dems, lets get to 4 billion, I know you have it in you to spend just a little bit more, and good luck to any one who wants to retire around here… LOL

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    Nothing another property tax hike can’t fix. Of course, looking at ways to cut spending such as the ESL stuff is never allowed. That would be xenophobic and just cruel to those poor poor undocumented citizens that want their children to get a free ride on the public dole

    • DagnyTaggert

      I wonder why there is no pie slice showing the HUGE expense that ESL is? Given the constant trolling over how it would save the budget, you would think some facts would be in order.

    • Make mexico great again

      A construction worker climbed to the roof of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver to fly the Mexican flag, and send a message to U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
      In a video of the stunt, which took place on Saturday, Diego Saul Reyna says it is Mexican workers that helped build the tower bearing Trump’s name.
      “From the dry wall to the concrete finish to the steel framing … it’s standing here today thanks to us – to our work and our labour,” he says.
      In a Facebook post, Reyna further explained his reason for hoisting the flag.
      “The comments Trump has made about us did not stop us from doing the high quality work we have always done, in our home country or when we migrate to the U.S./Canada,” Reyna said, noting that Trump’s ancestors were also immigrants to North America. “The insults you have said about us have not changed our work ethic.”

      • JGinVA

        I am not a Trump supporter, but…These workers were PAID to do the job…which, wouldn’t exist without Trump initiating the project. IRONY, anyone?

  • 80K/yr + frolicking&doing noth

    And unlike government unions most taxpayer’s retirements are tied to the “savings and investments” of the crap shoot/pyramid scheme variety that is the stock market through 401Ks. I think we need to immediately buy out and remove all defined pension plans from employees of government including unions and politicians and make them save the way the rest of us do. I think that the reality of having to actually save as well as live might change their total disregard for taxpayers. Unless those defined pension plans are 100% funded by the people who are going to benefit from them and those people are also paid like the rest of us and not overpaid.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      All govt employees? Does that also include Police, Firefighters and, by extension, the Military?

    • Lisa

      People that work in local Government (myself included) generally make a much lower salary that private industry does. They payoff is the defined benefit plan that you get after working 30+ years.

  • Brian

    Money can still be moved from other sections. Politicians use this ploy all the time to get the public behind efforts to get more money. They know the public will come out in force, where the polititions will then ask the public for more money, either by taking a loan such as a bond, or raising taxes.

    • James Hardin

      you are exactly right. The Fairfax County employees make up only 3% of the population of Fairfax County, yet they are the most powerful lobby in the county. What’s worse is they use our tax dollars to lobby. I attended the budget hearings and witnessed hats, stickers, and other things being passed out promoting county programs. Who do you think paid for those? It’s simply not fair the way some county employees, particularly the FCPS, use our tax dollars to lobby for more benefits.

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