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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Board of Supervisors approves budget for FY 2016

The Fairfax County Government Center.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made a few changes April 21 in the FY 2016 advertised budget presented by County Deputy Ed Long, restoring several human service programs, adding some money for Fairfax County Public Schools, and increasing supervisors’ pay.

The nearly $4 billion marked-up budget will be formally adopted by the BoS April 28.

Fairfax County residents urge the Board of Supervisors to provide adequate funding for education, libraries, and other services at a rally at the Fairfax County Government Center April 8.
The board package maintains the current property tax rate at $1.09 per $100 of assessed value. Most homeowners will see their tax bills rise, however, as assessments rose homes throughout the county, resulting in a $185 average increase in taxes.

Assessments in Annandale rose an average of 5.45 percent in 2015, outstripping the county average of 3.39 percent. 

The budget would increase funding for Fairfax County Public Schools by more than $66.7 million over last year, but that’s still about $14 million short of what the school board had requested. School officials maintain additional funding is needed to accommodate enrollment growth and increases in the number of students with special needs.

The budget would restore $120,000 for enforcement of the grass ordinance, which had been an area of concern for community associations concerned about property values. Under that program, county contractors inspect complaints about unmaintained lawns. If homeowners fail to correct the problem, the county mows the grass and bills the owner.

The budget still calls for the closing of the Annandale Adult Day Health Center but would delay the closing by six months. The budget also adds one staff position to the Lincolnia Adult Day Health Center to accommodate all current Annandale clients. The budget also does not reverse proposed funding cuts for the public libraries.

The budget does, however, restore several positions that had been proposed for elimination in the Healthy Families program, the Parent Education/Good-Touch/Bad Touch child abuse prevention program, mental health services in the jail, detox diversion, rent relief program, and weekend fire boat patrols.

Funding to restore those programs comes from $2.7 million in additional state funds that were not included in the advertised budget.

The budget includes 1.1 percent cost-of-living raises, cut from the current cost-of-living rate of 1.68 percent which had been agreed to in labor negotiations last fall. Employees would also receive raises based on merit and longevity averaging 3.6 percent. 

Salaries for supervisors will be increased from $75,000 to $95,000 a year. The board chair’s salary will rise to $100,000.

On the revenue side, the budget increases sewer service charges from $6.62 to $6.65 per 1,000 gallons, increases the stormwater services district tax rate from $0.225 to $0.025 of $100 of assessed value, and increases the Tysons Service District tax rate from $0.04 to $0.05 per $100 of assessed value. Fees for the School-Age Child Care program and refuse disposal fees would be increased.

The budget “is not a ‘great news’ package,’” said Board Chair Sharon Bulova, “but I think that it is responsible and responsive to the needs of our community and to the uncertain fiscal climate we are operating in.”

During the next months and years, the county will address its financial challenges through “lines of budget review,” Bulova said. This will involve engaging the community in an evaluation of county programs and services “to ensure that we maintain the quality of life our residents value and rely upon, while making sure taxes are affordable.”

15 comments:

  1. So the salaries to the supervisors were increased and services to the community - Adult Day Care and Libraries - were cut? Thanks, Fairfax County. What will become of the unused space where the current Adult Day Care is located? Will ACCA use it for their day care center?

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    1. Perhaps it could be turned into commercial space. There are plenty of viable commercial businesses around it.

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    2. I say take out ACCA child care and give the school back to FCPS to help with overcrowding.

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    3. I thought they said there was lots of space at Lincolnia Senior center?

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    4. MM: That part of Columbia Pike wouldn't provide cars and busses with proper access. The building is also obsolete. Its too small and upgrading it wouldn't be cost effective.

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  2. Cut everything and give myself a $20,000 raise? I'm in the wrong job!

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  3. "Employees would also receive raises based on merit and longevity averaging 3.6 percent." Superintendents will receive raises of 26.7%.

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    1. It's a full time job and $95k isn't making anyone rich. So, I can't gripe about it. Especially if Penny Gross won't be collecting it.

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    2. Meant to say Supervisors, not Superintendents!

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  4. How is it that the BoS could not agree to formally consider options to address next years projected $100M shortfall, yet still vote a pay raise for themselves? Not very fiscally responsible, it seems.

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    1. Chump change. If you need something to gripe about, consider the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center. The BOS bailed out that festering financial pustule to the tune of $30 MM and continues to support it. There has to be a way to shut down that financial black hole and put the savings to productive use.

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  5. I love how the rent relief fund was saved but libraries and Adult Day Care were cut.

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  6. So out of a $4 billion budget, there was just no way to conjure up $14 million for education, but the bossfolks each get a $20,000 pay raise and can spend $120,000 harassing homeowners over mowing the grass?

    Folks, this is beyond ineptitude. Fairfax County has reached Chicago levels of corruption.

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  7. It's clear that our Supervisors, especially those who voted for a pay raise next year and the Chair are completely out of touch with what's important. It's unbelievable that they continue to cut so much from the Library budget. I think the Chair has something against the Libraries. The Libraries, Parks, and Police/Fire Departments are services that all Fairfax County residents benefit from!

    I also agree that the Annandale School should be offered back to FCPS, just to see if they could make use of it to relieve over-crowding.

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    1. Enough! Sooner or later, we will be left with schools, and nothing else.

      Every conversation cannot begin and end with "turn it Into a school". The Annandale School is old, tiny, obsolete, and in an terrible location for a school. It does not work as a school in 2015.

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