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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Board of Supervisors adopts budget for 2018

The Fairfax County Government Center.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors formally adopted a $4.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2018 that maintains the real estate tax rate at $1.13 per $100 of assessed value.

Some homeowners, however, might see their real estate taxes go up next year due to a slight increase in the countywide average assessments.
The budget transfers $2.17 billion to Fairfax County Public Schools, an increase of 2.49 percent over the FY 2017 amount. That represents 52.8 percent of the county’s general fund budget. Even so, the transfer amount is still about $47 million less than what the school board requested.

The budget includes $2 million in funding for the second year of Diversion First. This program diverts people with mental illness who are arrested into treatment programs, rather than jail.

The budget would increase the sewer service charge to $6.75 per 1,000 gallons of water used, an increase of 7 cents. The sewer availability charge would be raised by $350 to $8,100.

The budget does not raise salaries for county employees and does not include funding for many of the police reforms that had been recommended by an ad hoc commission.

It’s been a decade since the Great Recession, when property values plummeted, said Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova. “Since then values have increased annually only modestly, if at all. This year the average sales price of homes increased by only 1 percent.”

The budget approved by the BoS is built on an increase in total revenue of just 1.9 percent, said Chair Sharon Bulova. “It is balanced in part with $13 million in savings, reductions, and efficiencies.

“Looking ahead, the FY 2019 budget will pose new challenges, including potential federal cutbacks and sequestration in areas such as housing, human services, and the environment,” Bulova said. “Metro is anticipated to require a significant increase in funding from local jurisdictions to promote safe and reliable service delivery.”

In other county news, Fairfax County Executive Edward Long Jr., announced May 2 plans to retire on Sept. 15. Long has been in the position since 2012 and has worked for the county for almost 40 years, serving previously as director of the Department of Management and Budget and then deputy county executive/chief financial officer. 

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