County Executive’s Proposal Begins the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Deliberations

Last week, County Executive Anthony Griffin released his proposed County Budget for FY 2012, which begins July 1, 2011. Because residential property values increased 2.34 percent over FY11, the average homeowner would pay an additional $110 under the County Executive’s budget. Commercial property values also increased - 3.73 percent over FY11 - indicating that perhaps real estate values in the County are stabilizing. While current projections anticipate modest revenue growth for the County, short-term upticks could easily be followed by short-term declines. 

The County Executive’s proposal increases spending by $68 million or 2.06 percent over the FY11 Adopted Budget. It also leaves an available balance of $30 million. Mr. Griffin’s proposal includes:

        •The property tax rate remains at $1.09. The average household would see a tax increase of $110. Braddock saw the highest assessment increase in the County, so tax payments would increase even more for Braddock Residents. Supervisor Cook proposed setting the advertised tax rate at $1.065, which would have kept property tax payments even, but that proposal was defeated. 

        •Though no increase in employee compensation is considered, $34.2 million is spent to address rising employee benefit costs, including $15.4 million for extra retirement funding and $8.7 million for health insurance.

        •No major cuts as in past years, but $9.8 million is saved through agency reductions and reorganizations.

        •The transfer to the Fairfax County School System is held equal to the FY11 level of $1.6 billion. This does not include the $58.9 million in support from the County for programs such as Head Start, School Health and School Resources Officers.

The County Executive’s proposed budget is just that – a proposal. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the actual budget in April. Between now and then, Supervisor Cook is interested in hearing your views. You may send an email to or write the office. He will also participate in three Budget Town Halls, and like last year, we have a budget survey on page four of this newsletter.

For more information on the FY2012 budget go to: and to sign-up to speak at the Board’s Public Hearings on the Budget visit:


Budget Town Halls and Public Hearings

  • Braddock District Council: Meeting on the Budget, March 9, Kings Park Library. 7:30 p.m.
  • Budget Town Hall: March 14, Robinson SS Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. with School Board Member Tessie Wilson
  • Joint Budget Town Hall with Springfield Supervisor’s Office: West Springfield HS Cafeteria, March 23, 7:30 p.m.
  • Public Hearings held in the Board Room of the Fairfax County Government Center on the following dates and times: March 29, 2011 6:00 p.m. - March 30, 2011 3:00 p.m. - March 31, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Seeking Your Input: County Budget Questions

This Spring, the Board of Supervisors must make tough choices regarding next year’s budget. The County Executive’s proposed budget includes an increase in property tax payments, a $30 million balance and County employees are given no compensation increases for another year. The Fairfax County School Board approved an advertised budget that would necessitate a $48.8 million increase in the transfer from the County to the school system, but those extra funds are not identified in the County Executive’s Budget.
These and many other issues will be discussed during the coming weeks. To help Supervisor Cook assess available options, please answer the following questions. Email your answers to and write “budget survey” in the subject line, or mail the responses to the office.

1.In his proposed budget, the County Executive offered a number of options for the $30 million balance. Which of the following most closely follows your view:

a.Use it to fund employee compensation increases: for example, a 1 percent bonus which would cost $7.8 million or a $1,000 net bonus, which would cost $15.7 million
b.Use it to reduce the Real Estate Tax Rate. Each one cent reduction in the tax rate would cost $19.3 million and would save the average homeowner $45 annually.
c.Use it to fund additional priorities such as schools and other unfunded or underfunded initiatives and programs.
d. Save it and roll it forward to FY 2013.

2.The Fairfax County School Board approved an advertised budget that would require an increase of $48.8 million in the General Fund Transfer. Do you believe the County should:

a.Raise the real estate tax by nearly 3 cents to fund the entire request - this alone would cost the average homeowner $135.
b.Use all or a portion of the available $30 million balance to fund a piece of the request.
c.Leave the County transfer at this year’s level, as proposed by the County Executive.
d. Reduce the transfer.

3.In setting spending priorities, which of these services would you LEAST like to see cuts made to:

a.Public Safety, i.e. Fire and Police
c.Human Services, services for those most in need
d.Parks and Environmental Protection

4.The County Executive’s budget contains limited spending reductions. Should the County:

a.Continue to reduce spending, in order to avoid tax increases.
b.Increase tax payments as proposed, to hold the spending level.
c.Increase tax payments and spending levels

5. Do you believe the Board of Supervisors has openly debated budget options to a sufficient degree?


Real Estate Assessment Notices Have Been Mailed

The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) mailed real estate assessment notices to all property owners of taxable parcels in the County beginning February 22.
Most of Braddock District’s 36,940 housing units saw some increase which varied by neighborhood. Annandale saw a 3.07 percent increase, Fairfax 2.59 percent, Springfield 3.35 percent and Burke 4.30 percent. A map showing individual Braddock District neighborhoods is available in the Braddock office.

County-wide, almost 64 percent of residential properties experienced an assessment increase and another 22 percent had no change for 2011. The overall equalization change for residential properties is 2.34 percent, while commercial properties show an overall equalization increase of 3.73 percent. The percentage of the real estate assessment base attributable to commercial and industrial property in FY 2012 is 19.64 percent.

Overall, of the 282,105 properties that have a 2011 assessment change, 7,624 are due to growth (i.e., new construction, rezoning, etc.) and 274,481 properties changed due to equalization.
Based on equalization changes, the mean assessed value (i.e., on average, countywide) of most single family-detached homes for 2011 is $535,298, up 2.10 percent. This group of properties makes up approximately 71 percent of the residential equalization property value in the County. Townhouse/duplex properties have a 2011 Countywide assessment average of $318,614, an increase of approximately 3.73 percent; and, the mean assessed value for condominiums is up 2.53 percent to $211,281. It is important to note, however, that averages are not necessarily indicative of individual properties and neighborhoods.

All assessment questions should be directed to the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) at 703-222-8234; or through their homepage: Residents can obtain a list of residential sales within each assessment neighborhood from the DTA website. Administrative appeals can be filed with DTA if residents believe their assessment is not equitable in comparison with similar properties, or if they believe their assessment exceeds fair market value. Appeals may be made in writing to the Real Estate Division of DTA, or online through DTA’s homepage, DTA requests that appeal applications be filed by April 8, 2011.

Real Estate appeals can also be filed with the Board of Equalization (BOE). Under State law, the BOE is separate from the DTA and consists of nine taxpayers appointed by the Board of Supervisors. By law, all appeals to the BOE must be filed and postmarked by June 1, 2011. BOE appeal forms are also available on the BOE website at , or by calling the BOE office at 703-324-4891.

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