Search Results for "budget"
Among the highlights of the new budget include an increase in the real estate tax, and increased funding for schools, including teacher salaries.
Homeowners can expect a two-cent increase in the annual real estate tax, from the current $1.13 per $100 of assessed home value to $1.15.
Supervisors said this will result in an average increase of $241 per year for homeowners, and a revenue increase of $49.3 million for the county.
“I believe the additional revenue is an important investment needed to shore up the foundation on which our quality of life in Fairfax County rests,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said in recorded comments on the county website.
The new budget also includes increased funding for Fairfax County schools by $91.49 million, or 4.22 percent over the previous year.
“The package fully funds the school board’s request, bringing teacher salaries into competitive alignment with our sister jurisdictions in the region,” Bulova said. “Again, 52.8 percent of our general fund budget [will be] going to the schools.”
Of the additional $91.49 million, $53 million of that will be dedicated to teacher salary scale increases, according to the county website.
“It is anticipated that the FCPS FY 2019 Advertised Budget will remain fully funded, with increased state revenues,” county documents explain. “This includes projected cost increases related to updated enrollment information.”
Bulova said the increased funding will also allow for a 2.25-percent market rate adjustment for county employees, as well as allow for performance, merit and longevity increases.
The approved budget also provides funding for many early childhood education programs, gang prevention and opioid addiction intervention, as well as an increase in funding for Metro “pending a long-term solution,” she said.
The county’s “Diversion First” program will also receive funding. Diversion First offers alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities, who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low level offenses.
Other small tax and fee increases for basic services include:
- Trash/Refuse Collection and Disposal – Annual collection fees will increase by $5, from the current $345 to $350. Annual disposal fees will increase by $2 from the current $64 to $66.
- Sewer Fees – Annual sewer service fees will increase from $6.75 per 1,000 gallons to $7. Annual base service charges will increase from $27.62 per quarter to $30.38.
- Stormwater Services – The district tax rate will increase from $0.0300 to $0.0325 per $100 of assessed value.
One area in which fees will decrease is the Phase I Dulles Rail Transportation Improvement district tax rate, which will go down from 15 cents to 13 cents per $100 of assessed value, thanks to a recommendation by the Phase I District Commission.
The county produced a video on its annual budget is formed and adopted for interested residents.
File Photo: Sharon Bulova
The Herndon Town Council passed a $60.2 million budget for next year, a nearly 18 percent increase over last year.
The budget package, which was approved Tuesday night, holds the line on taxes. The general fund budget increased moderately by 1.7 percent to $35.2 million.
A significant portion of the spending boost is tied to the development of downtown Herndon and vehicle and pedestrian access improvements.
The budget includes $2.7 million for improvements on Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, $730,000 for improvements at the intersection of Herndon Parkway and Spring Street and $900,000 for improvements at the intersection of Elden Street and Monroe Street. An additional $500,000 is included for downtown parking and an arts facility.
Local officials are considering adding a second story to the Herndon Community Center to create more space for fitness activities and storage. The project also includes plans to upgrade locker rooms and a reconfigured entrance to address issues with HVAC system in the current lobby.
Funding for a 4,000-square-foot nature center at Runnymede Park is also included in the budget.
The complete budget will be available online by July. 1
Herndon’s Town Manager William Ashton III has proposed a $60.2 million budget for fiscal year 2018 — a nearly 18 percent increase over the previous budget.
The majority of the increase is the result of $6.5 million for the water and sewer fund and $1 million for parking linked to the redevelopment of downtown Herndon.
Modest revenue growth is projected over the next year, Ashton said. The budget reflects a nearly three percent increase in assessed property tax values. The town’s real estate tax rate will remain at $0.2650 per $100 of assessed value.
In the proposal, funding is allocated for the Town of Herndon’s ongoing partnership with Comstock for the redevelopment of downtown. It includes $500,000 this year for an interior build-out of an 18,000-square-foot arts center, $2.9 million to relocate overhead utilities underground and $1.4 million for street improvements along Van Buren Street from Herndon Parkway north to Spring Street.
The overall six-year plan for the capital budget includes $3 million for the construction of a new nature center at Runnymede Park, $3.3 million for vehicle and pedestrian access to the Herndon Metrorail Station, and $4.3 million for a second-story addition to the Herndon Community Center.
A summary of the budget is available online.
Residents of the Hunter Mill District will have a chance tomorrow to weigh in on the fiscal year 2019 budget.
Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill proposed the $4.29 billion general fund budget in February. The proposal would raise the residential property tax rate from $1.13 to $1.155 per $100 of assessed value.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will hold a town hall on the proposal tomorrow at South Lakes High School from 7-9 p.m.
During the public meeting, Hill will discuss his proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as the county’s financial forecast. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions following county presentations.
Photo via handout
Last week Democrats in the House of Delegates were able largely to sit on the sidelines as Republicans debated among themselves whether Virginia should expand access to medical care through the federal Medicaid program. Arguments that had been used by Democrats to support Medicaid in the past were now being used by Republicans to support their newly found support for expansion.
The news is good since Medicaid expansion could only come about with bipartisan support. When the final vote was taken on the issue, only 31 Republicans voted “nay” and all Democrats voting “aye” with 20 Republicans making the total for passage 69 votes. There was a sense of relief as a goal for which we had been working for more than a half dozen years moved closer to realization.
The news was not so good on the other side of the Capitol. The Senate passed a budget that did not include further Medicaid expansion. While there was an effort to amend the Senate bill to include the expansion of access to health care, it failed along a straight party line vote. Final passage of a budget for the next two years requires that the bills passed in each house be identical. A conference committee made up of House and Senate members must resolve the largest imbalance in the budget that I have ever seen before its final adoption.
If I had predicted before the session where we would be at this point I would have said that the Senate would have passed a version of Medicaid expansion but the Republicans in the House were maintaining their opposition. At least that’s what the public pronouncements and the rumor mill suggested.
How could we have been so wrong? I believe that the predictions on the outcome of the session left out one very important consideration: the results of the 2016 elections. The House’s 66 to 34 Republican control was diminished to a close margin of 51 to 49. For weeks it appeared that Democrats might take control. Among the losses were senior members and committee chairs who were opponents of Medicaid expansion and were expected to win re-election easily. The Speaker who opposed expansion retired.
The voters in 2016 sent a clear message that they supported Medicaid expansion. For most it simply did not make sense to leave more than ten billion federal dollars on the table when there were so many people without access to health care. Many more people went to the polls than usual to send the message to legislators. Whether it was public opinion polling or common sense that showed the Republican majority they were in trouble and needed to change the stance on issues, the public speaking through the ballot box brought about this very important change for Virginia.
How to explain the Senate vote? Senators with four-year terms have not been before the voters since 2014. They have not had a recent message from the electorate and could be in for a big surprise if they do not re-evaluate their positions. The real heroes in all this are the Indivisibles and other groups that mobilized voters in 2016 to elect responsive candidates. These new members are bringing balance to public policy as well as to the budget.
According to a press release, this year is the first time the assessment has been reduced from the previous year. The assessment rate is calculated based on the bottom line of the capital and operating budget.
The board reinstated most pool hours to 2016 levels, according to the release. The body also directed TA staff to increase non-assessment revenue, which includes proffer and easement income, by 10 percent while cutting operating costs by 5 percent.
The release also noted several “cost-cutting” measures allowed the board to decrease the fee including:
- Increasing health insurance co-payments for all employees
- Approving in-house counsel in order to reduce reliance on outside legal services
- Pay off the loan for The Lake House, which RA purchased two years ago
- The addition of 429 new residential units that will be a source of additional revenue
The approved capital budget, which allocates $3.5 million for this year and $2.2 million for next year, includes roughly $399,000 for tennis court improvements and $465,000 for boat dock improvements, especially for replacing a dock at lake Anne.
The annual assessment is due by Jan 1. For more information on the budget, visit RA’s website.
Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.
All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.
The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.
Some other big ticket items on the project list include:
- $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
- $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
- $406,658 for tennis courts
- $379,318 for asphalt trails
- $313,658 for vehicles and equipment
The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.
The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).
“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”
Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.
“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.
“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.
The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.
During a special Monday afternoon session (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward using operating reserves to pay off the remaining $2.4 million on the Lake House loan as the 2018 budget is compiled.
Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and At-Large member, shared information with directors about what he says is a “low-risk” option that would benefit members. CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “strongly desires” the loan be paid off this year using the reserves.
“These are things we should consider as a Board, but my own perspective is [that] if we cannot put the money to work in other areas, [then] this is like returning money back to the shareholders,” Ganesan said.
Ganesan said RA’s operating reserves have never fallen below $4 million, and that they peak at around $12 million each year as assessments are collected. Given this information, he said, there is little concern associated with funds being taken from the account and used to pay off the loan now.
Ganesan had earlier shared this information with members during a community budget workshop last week. Taking care of the loan would reduce the assessment rate by $8.66 in 2018.
Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) asked whether Ganesan and staff had considered making the payoff in multiple stages instead of all at once, if the Board is “nervous” about taking so much from reserves. Ganesan said he believes there is no reason to be uncomfortable about taking the money from reserves in one lump sum.
“You have enough cashflow coming in [from assessments] in order to meet the expenses in case there is [any] problem,” he said. “[Even if] on March 1, only 50 percent of members have paid their assessments — that’s a real problem, that’s a crisis. But even then, we have collected 50 percent of assessments; that’s $7.5 million.”
As the Reston Association Board of Directors continues to work on the 2018-19 budget, RA members are encouraged to participate in a budget-development community meeting next week hosted by RA’s treasurer.
Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate the meeting Thursday, Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.”
Two more budget work sessions, open to the public, are slated for Monday, Sept. 18, from noon-5 p.m. and from 7:30-10 p.m. Members will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget with the Board of Directors at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house.
The final draft of the 2018-19 budget is to be presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, as well as a community input opportunity at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house event. Approval of the operating and capital budgets, and the 2018 assessment rate, is scheduled to take place at the Board’s November meeting.
The figure was discussed during a budget workshop session with the RA Board of Directors on Monday (video/PowerPoint presentation). That number would be a decrease of $42 (5.83 percent) from the 2017 assessment level of $720, which was reduced to $692 using surplus cash.
One of the major factors that influenced the budget development, allowing for the decrease in the proposed rate, is the additional assessment revenue that will be provided by 429 new units at the Sunrise Square and VY developments.
That assessment rate will likely change, though, before the Board finalizes the 2018 operations budget, projected at $14.3 million. The Board has been asked to consider numerous staff and member suggestions which could affect the budget.
One big way it could change depends upon whether the Board decides to pay off the loan on the Lake House. If it does so — at a cost of $182,797 — there will be a reduction of $8.66 in the 2018 assessment rate as a result of no longer making payments.
“Essentially, we’ll be using up our cash to pay off the loan,” Sridhar. “In the corporate world, you give it back to the shareholders, which in this case is the members.”
The 2018 budget currently on the table has the Lake House being maintained on the status quo, through programming and rentals while making payments on the loan. That would result in a net loss of more than $190,000, according to the projection. Other options on the table include continuing status quo for six months and then moving to only rentals, or to use the facility for rentals only. With those latter options, along with paying off the loan, the Lake House is projected to represent a net profit in the 2018 budget.
CEO Cate Fulkerson said staff “highly recommends” the Board pay off the loan at the end of this year.
“I am looking forward to that conversation, because I think that there is a lot of area where the Board can make a positive impact on the community, both financially and through programming,” said Sherri Hebert, Board president.
In addition to bringing in in-house legal support, the cost of which Fulkerson said would be canceled out by the savings from reducing outside legal services, the Board is also being asked to consider other staffing additions.
Anna Varone, director of covenants administration, asked the Board to consider adding a post-DRB project approval inspector. This position is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget, with a $2.65 impact on the assessment.
“We’ve been challenged by having projects that have been approved by the DRB and not having someone that’s been able to go and inspect after the member has installed the project,” Varone said. “We’ve not had the resources to go out and ensure that the member has installed the project correctly.”
Mike McNamara, deputy director of maintenance, said the Board should consider adding two seasonal workers to address litter control. This would cost about $40,000 (salary and supplies), with an impact of $1.93 on the assessment.
At a meeting last week, the Board was presented a potential $2.82 million Capital Projects budget.
A community meeting on the budget development process is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14. The Board will then hold further budget work sessions, along with a joint meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, on Monday, Sept. 18.
The final drafts of the capital projects and operations budgets are to be presented Sept. 28, with public hearings in October and the approval in November.
During a work session Monday (video) with the Reston Association Board of Directors, representatives of RA’s Capital Projects department broke down expenditures scheduled for 2018 and 2019.
Just over $2.8 million is budgeted for projects in the coming year. The highest-ticket item is dredging of Lake Thoreau (about $500,000), while other top costs include work on asphalt trails (over $186,000) and lighting for the North Hills tennis courts ($156,000).
Looking forward to 2019, several more high-cost items help the budget go up to nearly $4 million. This includes continued work on the dredging of Lake Thoreau ($646,000) and the asphalt trails (over $192,000). In addition, over $875,000 is budgeted for renovation of the Lake Thoreau pool facility, after about $110,000 for planning in 2018.
The Board approves its Capital Projects and Operating budgets every two years.
Garrett Skinner, capital projects director, said the 10-year study of the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund is being used in an effort to ensure that assessments don’t spike in years that larger capital projects are planned.
“We know we can still execute the work in that year without necessarily asking residents to pay significantly higher assessments just to execute what we know we need to get done,” Skinner said. “The intent was to make sure there wasn’t a significant impact on the residents to the assessment value if you can kind of make it … a consistent steady amount in terms of the capital contribution to the assessment, so when we get to those significant years, the blow isn’t right at once or a surprise to anyone.”
About $6.3 million in reserve fund balance is projected to be carried over into 2018, Skinner said, with about $1.6 million being unencumbered. To get to those numbers, the Board is being asked to fund the reserve in the amount of $2.9 million, which was already approved by the Fiscal Committee.
The Board is also being asked to consider a number of additional capital projects that have been suggested by members. Each was listed for directors along with an estimated cost and what that impact it would have on the assessment.
Next Monday, the Board will have another work session on the 2018 and 2019 Operating Budget.
Screenshot via Reston Association YouTube channel
The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet throughout the month of August to work toward drafting the 2018-19 biennial budgets.
Monday, RA staff will provide an overview to the board on the draft 2018-19 Capital Projects & Budget Plan, along with the Five-Year Strategic Capital Projects Plan. The following Monday, Aug. 14, the Board will receive and provide comments on CEO Cate Fulkerson’s first draft of the proposed 2018 and 2018 Operating Budgets.
At a Monday, Aug. 28 session, directors are scheduled to consider the Decision Points presented within the drafted Operating and Capital budgets. They are also to provide guidance to staff about what should and should not be included in the second draft of the budgets.
Each of the three August sessions is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
Directors heard a presentation at their meeting last week on the results of community engagement workshops where input on budget priorities, among other issues, was provided. The Board has been asked to consider incorporating the feedback provided through the community listening sessions into its budget development process for the coming year.
Sridhar Ganesan, At-Large director, said he would like to see more such listening sessions held before the budget is finalized.
“I think we will be doing some public sessions, [and] I hope to do substantive ones so that people can actually give feedback on it,” he said. “For example, ‘These are the projects we’re proposing — how do you react to that?’ [It’s about] actually having a way to get real data back from the people.”
The process is scheduled to continue with another work session in September and the final draft presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, followed by approval of the budgets and the 2018 assessment rate at the Board’s November meeting.
During the primary election season when both parties in Virginia were making their selection of a candidate for governor, one candidate who went on to get his party’s nomination proposed the clincher of a policy proposal to secure his success in the election: a billion-dollar tax cut!
For those who have been around the state for some time it may sound familiar; the successful car tax cutting proposal that elected a previous governor is still costing the state about a billion dollars each year. That cut was particularly ironic in that it had the state cutting a local tax by reimbursing the localities for taxpayers. It was great for Northern Virginians as less wealthy downstate taxpayers reimburse the wealthiest jurisdictions in a reverse “Robin Hood” plan.
Before voters jump at a promise of reduced taxes, I hope there will be a serious consideration of the consequences. Virginia prides itself on being a “balanced budget” state; its revenues cover its operational expenses. Borrowing is permitted under the State Constitution for capital projects when approved by voters unless the project raises enough revenue to pay for itself. All that is good with a major exception. At no time does the state quantify its needs in order to determine what the cost of government would be if the state met its responsibility in providing funding. Two examples are offered below to make my point.
The first example is the state’s refusal to fund education at the level it has in the past and that is required by the Constitution. A report by the Commonwealth Institute, “State Cuts Mean Fewer Staff and Resources for Virginia Students,” in April 2017 makes the point.
“Statewide, state support has fallen 11 percent per student since 2009 in real dollars. This has impacted the ability of schools to maintain staffing and facilities. Across the state, school divisions have about 2,800 fewer staff than they had in 2009, despite growing enrollment. If they had kept pace with enrollment growth, Virginia’s schools would have 10,400 more staff instructing students and making sure the schools run smoothly.”
The other example is in health care. The Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise County is well known having been featured on an edition of 60 Minutes. There, thousands of Virginians receive their health care for the year in a weekend clinic held on the local fair grounds. The federal Affordable Care Act did not help as the legislature would not take federal monies to expand Medicaid that would have helped these people in need. The state turned its back on nearly $5 billion paid into the federal system by Virginia taxpayers because it did not want to have anything to do with what it termed Obamacare. What has happened in the meantime? A second RAM weekend clinic has been opened in Lee County nearby to Wise in Southwest Virginia, and a new clinic has been started in Emporia in Greensville County in Southside Virginia.
We definitely need to balance our budget, but we need to balance it against our needs. How could we seriously propose to cut our income when there continues to be such extensive unmet needs in the Commonwealth?
Input from community members on the Reston Association budget for FY2018-19 can still be submitted through June 30.
Numerous members, however, have already submitted suggestions that have been made public on the RA website. Some of the more prevalent suggestions that have been made so far include:
- the need to dredge Lake Thoreau on schedule, which residents of the Lakewinds Cluster say needs to be “treated as a mandatory obligation, not as a discretionary matter subject to the vagaries of the RA annual budget process.”
- restoration of pool hours, which one resident said should involve “expanding or getting more creative with recruiting efforts [of lifeguards] instead of giving up and cutting schedule entirely.”
- the addition of permanent bathrooms at Hook Road Recreation Area and at other tennis courts, which several residents say is especially necessary for older users of the courts.
- considering stopping maintenance of the grass in street medians, which former Board of Directors member Lucinda Shannon said “is the county’s responsibility and most of us don’t think they need to be mowed all the time.”
Check out the full list of member suggestions so far at the Reston Association website.
According to the Board of Directors’ budget development calendar, the board will hear a presentation on the survey results from Community Engagement Advisory Committee at the July 27 meeting. Budget workshops will follow in August and September, with public hearings in October and the budget to be approved in November.
The proposal to renovate Reston Community Center’s aquatics center continues to move forward.
Monday, the Community Center Board of Governors worked to further budget plans for the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center. The budget and Capital Project plans will be available to the public June 19.
Leila Gordon, RCC executive director, said the board has directed staff on how to proceed with the plan.
“They directed staff to proceed with coordination with county departments — specifically, the Departments of Management and Budget, Public Works and Environmental Services/Capital Planning and Building Development Branch, and the Procurement and Materials Management — to pursue the optimum process and approaches to realizing the project goals and to making our budget and Capital Project plan available to the public on June 19, 2017 in as complete and accurate a presentation as possible.”
The processes for the aquatic center renovation will continue as planned. The proposal calls for a new zero-depth entry attached to the existing lap pool, a new family changing room, private showers, a larger and deeper area in the warm water pool, and overall improved air and acoustics quality.
Reston resident Gordon Gerson submitted a request for additional deep-end safety features and for the locked closets in the locker rooms to be converted into private changing rooms.
“We will continue to explore the optimum solutions to the many challenges having the one building, the one source of funding and the several competing audiences to serve create,” said Gordon in response. “I remain very optimistic that we will arrive at a good solution that you and your constituents will participate in achieving.”
Gordon has previously said she believes the upgrade could cost up to $4 million. Tax rates would not be affected by the project, Gordon said.
The annual public hearing for programs and budget will be held Monday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Residents who plan to attend are encouraged to send an email to [email protected] to RSVP. Written comments or questions can be submitted to the same address, with a full name and address included.