The advertised budget presented by Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin to the board of supervisors Feb. 28 calls for a 2.18 percent salary increase for county employees and increases in stormwater and other fees.
The $3.52 billion budget estimates revenue to increase a moderate 3.4 percent in FY 2013.
While the budget document anticipates a gradually improving economy, including a declining unemployment rate (currently at 4.2 percent), it says “the economy is not experiencing a level of growth normally seen after a recession and most analysts expect a slow uphill climb over the next year.”
The budget projects revenues of $6.7 billion, a 6.1 increase over the revenue in the budget adopted for FY 2012. It proposes expenditures of $6.5 billion, a 7 percent increase over the FY12 adopted budget.
Here are some highlights:
- The real estate tax rate would be maintained at the current level of $1.07 per $100 of assessed value. The value of real estate is rising, however, which is expected to result in a $33.85 increase in property taxes for the typical household from 2012.
- The budget recommends a 4.5 percent increase in the amount of county funds transferred to Fairfax County Public Schools for a total of $1.68 billion. It rejected the advertised budget approved by the school board Feb. 9 that called for an 8.4 percent increase.
- Thirty-four new staff positions would be created, including three new School-Age Child Care program positions—two for the two SACC rooms at the new Mason Crest Elementary School and one for the Graham Road Elementary School SACC program, and 22 positions in stormwater services. Another 36 positions would be abolished.
- The budget includes an increase of nearly $7.5 million for the pension program for county employees, an 8 percent increase for other benefits for retirees, and a 3.2 percent increase for health insurance and other benefits.
- A $3.6 million increase in transportation funding would support transit-related projects including Metro.
- The stormwater service rate would be increased by one cent for a total of 25 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value. If that rate increase is approved, stormwater fees are projected to generate $49.75 million in 2013 for capital projects and operational costs.
- Fees for the SACC and Rec-PAC (summer childcare) programs and Connector buses would also increase.
- Several programs are proposed for elimination, including rent relief, marine patrol, and dedicated staffing for the HAZMAT support unit.
Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for April 10, 11, and 12. You can register to speak online. There Mason District Town Hall on the budget March 14, 7 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center.