Funding Position Statements - 2011 Legislative Program


BRAC

Fairfax County is being significantly impacted by the 2005 recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), with over 19,000 personnel from numerous Department of Defense (DOD) agencies and commands being moved into Fort Belvoir and the Engineer Proving Ground (EPG) in the County along with the Mark Center site in the City of Alexandria which borders Fairfax County.  As a result, Fairfax County is facing significant shortfalls in the capacity of current transportation and school infrastructure to support the additional military and civilian jobs.

While federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding is making possible the long-anticipated completion of the Fairfax County Parkway, overall federal assistance has been insufficient to ensure the appropriate increase in transportation capacity needed for such a large influx of personnel into an already congested area.  The lack of federal assistance is compounded by cuts in state funding to the County’s secondary road program, adversely affecting projects that could improve the BRAC transportation impacts at Fort Belvoir, Engineer Proving Grounds, and other locations in Fairfax County adversely impacted by the Mark Center site in the City of Alexandria.  The 2011 General Assembly is requested to provide state assistance to mitigate these significant effects.  (Reaffirms and revises previous position.)

 

Public Safety/Courts Funding

Public safety is a core service for the Commonwealth, as it is for localities.  Protecting the Commonwealth’s residents and ensuring the successful operation of the justice system requires appropriate state funding for the state-local partnership, including sufficient state support for all stages—law enforcement, courts, and jails/corrections.  Continued and substantial state cuts in recent years, in addition to the underfunding that already exists, have placed an increased burden on localities to fund these critical programs; in these difficult budget times, it is unlikely that local governments will continue to dedicate local resources to fund state responsibilities.

To that end, Fairfax County supports adequate funding for the following:

  • Excess Court Fees – The 2011 GA should reverse the diversion of local funding to the Commonwealth.  The 2008-2010 biennium budget was amended to change the state share of excess court fees (paid to local courts for administrative expenses associated with home sales, home refinancings, wills, and other matters) from one-third to two-thirds – a funding loss that disproportionately affected higher cost Northern Virginia localities.  This change was continued in the 2010-2012 biennium budget. (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)

  • HB 599 – This critical funding, provided to localities with police departments, must be maintained.  Approximately 65 percent of all Virginians currently depend on local police departments for public safety services.  This program strives to equalize state funding between cities, counties, and towns with police departments and localities in which the sheriff provides law enforcement.  By FY 2012, Fairfax County’s distribution of HB 599 funding will be approximately $6 million less than the County’s FY 2008 distribution.  While this funding is tied to state GF revenue levels, since FY 2010, the state has cut HB 599 funding below those levels.  (Reaffirms longstanding Board position.)

  • Jails – The Commonwealth should adequately compensate localities at a level which is commensurate with the State’s responsibility for local jail operations.  A 2005 report by the Compensation Board stated that only 20 percent of Fairfax County’s jail operations funding comes from the state.  Local governments in Virginia have historically borne a disproportionate burden of supporting jail confinement costs, as a result of significant underfunding by the Commonwealth.  State actions to address current state budget concerns should not result in the transfer of state prisoners to local jails, which would exacerbate the funding imbalance.  The 2010-2012 biennium budget exacerbates these concerns by reducing the per diem paid for local responsible inmates in local or regional jails from $8 per day to $4 per day; from $8 or $14 per day to $12 per day for state inmates housed in local or regional jails (including the out-of-compliance inmates); and the elimination of the additional $14 per day currently paid for any inmates in contract beds through agreements with the Department of Corrections.  Additionally, the adopted budget changes the definition of state-responsible offenders from felons with sentences of one year or more to felons with sentences of two years or more, which could mean more inmates in local and regional jails at a lower reimbursement rate from the state. (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)

  • Courts – The Commonwealth should adequately fund Virginia’s courts, to ensure a well-functioning judicial branch.  The underfunding of Virginia’s court system places additional burdens on localities.  From low pay for magistrates and court support staff (leading to a high turnover rate), to the current freeze on judicial vacancies, the courts are feeling the effects of repeated underfunding.  The state must provide the resources necessary for a high quality, efficient court system by being a funding partner, rather than relying on local supplements to keep the system operational.  (Updates and reaffirms previous position.)

  • Juvenile Justice – The Commonwealth should provide adequate funding through the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) for programs designed to:  prevent juvenile offenders from further penetrating the justice system; maintain youth in community based programs, rather than in state corrections centers; facilitate re-entry and prevent recidivism; and help troubled youth return to a more productive life and better future.  In the FY 2012 budget, state funding for VJCCCA will have been reduced by over 67 percent since FY 2002.  These cuts have created significant impacts in Fairfax County, and have required the termination of programs including the Family Counseling Unit and Intensive Supervision Program at the juvenile court. (Updates and reaffirms previous County position.)

 

 


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