|Library advocates took part in an Invest in Fairfax rally before a budget hearing at the Fairfax County Government Center.|
Hundreds of Fairfax County residents are testifying at budget hearings before the Board of Supervisors this week. Many of them are urging the board to provide adequate funding for the public library system, public schools, human services, affordable housing, parks, and other programs. There were a few, however, who urged the board to cut spending and not raise taxes.
Before the start of the hearing on April 9, advocates for more funding for the libraries and other programs gathered for an Invest in Fairfax pep rally outside the board room.
On April 9, many of the 110 people who testified called on the BoS to increase the investment in Fairfax County Public Libraries. Fairfax County may be one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, but its spending on libraries is the lowest among all the jurisdictions in Northern Virginia and is even below the state average.
The Library Board has requested a $2 million increase to begin to repair the damage done by years of draconian budget cuts, but the advertised budget for fiscal year 2015 calls for an increase of just $250,000 for materials to be divided among the 23 library branches.
Even worse, when the BoS asked County Executive Ed Long to suggest areas for additional cuts, he recommended a zero increase in funding, along with cutting library hours and eliminating staff positions.