Board of Supervisors Completes Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Mark-Up
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April 21, 2003
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Completes Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Mark-Up;
Cuts Real Estate Tax Rate by 5 Cents
On April 21, 2003, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors marked up the proposed fiscal year 2004 budget in a manner that affords homeowners property tax relief, while still maintaining critical services. Board Budget Committee Chairman Sharon Bulova emphasized that the board's goal was to approve a budget that is responsive to the community's needs yet is responsible with the public's tax dollars. For the second consecutive year, the real estate tax rate will be reduced. The board cut another 3 cents from the rate in addition to the 2-cent reduction already proposed by County Executive Anthony H. Griffin. With last year's 2-cent reduction, this brings the cumulative decrease to 7 cents over two years. The current rate will decrease from $1.21 per $100 assessed value to $1.16 for fiscal year 2004. The last time the rate was set at $1.16 was in fiscal year 1996. The board took this action on April 21, 2003, by marking up the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2003. They will formally adopt the budget on April 28, 2003.
With a real estate tax rate of $1.16 per $100 of assessed value, the typical household will pay $3,679.98, an increase of $328.95 or $27.41 per month more than the fiscal year 2003 bill. This is $158.62 less than the typical household would have paid had the board not lowered the real estate tax rate by 5 cents. Based on the two years worth of tax cuts, that savings increases to $222.07.
The fiscal year 2004 plan provides a balanced budget including General Fund disbursements of $2.56 billion, an increase of $69.02 million or 2.77 percent over the fiscal year 2003 budget estimate. General Fund Disbursements include General Fund Direct Expenditures of $946.89 million, a decrease of $8.05 million or 0.84 percent from the fiscal year 2003 estimate.
The total increase in the fiscal year 2004 budget over the fiscal year 2003 level is allocated to the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). The transfer to FCPS for operations and debt service totals $1.359 billion, an increase of $76.9 million over fiscal year 2003 and represents 53.1 percent of the total General Fund Disbursements - the highest percentage allocated to the Schools since fiscal year 1983. In the current fiscal year, that share is 52.5 percent.
Since each penny on the real estate tax rate is worth approximately $13 million, the Board of Supervisors' challenge was to reduce expenditures and increase other revenues in order to identify a total of $39 million to offset the additional 3-cent tax cut. They accomplished this through a combination of budget reductions including reducing compensation for county employees by $4.2 million. Pay for Performance funding is reduced by 25 percent, while public safety personnel who are not on the Pay for Performance system will see their market rate adjustment decreased from 2.56 percent to 2.10 percent.
In addition, various agencies' expenditures will be reduced an additional $3.4 million beyond the $22.5 million already included in the county executive's proposed budget. The board was also able to reduce the transfer to Metro by $4.2 million based on the latest information on existing balances at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Agency in conjunction with projected requirements. Other major decreases include $2.0 million for various paydown construction projects as well as $0.7 million associated with undesignated revitalization project funding and $0.7 million in debt service savings. Additional revenue of $3.8 million results from an updated review of fiscal year 2004 revenue projections as well as a balance identified as part of the fiscal year 2003 Third Quarter Review. The board will also use a $7.5 million reserve identified by the County Executive during development of the fiscal year 2004 budget. Additional net revenue of $8.18 million includes $9.50 million associated with a cellular phone tax, $0.08 million for implementation of a $40 non-residential use permit fee, and $1.90 million to be generated by increasing the E-911 fee from $1.75 to $2.50 per line per month. These increases are offset by a decrease of $3.3 million previously included for an athletic field maintenance fee, which the board did not approve (see attachment for a detailed list of all these adjustments).
As part of its ongoing initiative to streamline county government operations, the board eliminated a net of 34 more positions, which when combined with the County Executive's recommended net decrease of 49 positions, results in a total reduction of 83 positions for fiscal year 2004. As an indication of the efficiency with which Fairfax County is providing services, the county's population will have grown by 200,548 or more than 24 percent between fiscal years 1991 and 2004, while staffing has increased by only 0.8 percent or 90 positions. During this same period, 150 new facilities were opened or expanded, including fire stations, libraries, School Age Child Care (SACC) Centers, as well as many other types of direct service facilities.
In response to considerable community input, the board also funded
several Consideration Items totaling $0.6 million, including $97,228 and
2/2.0 SYE positions to restore the Marine Patrol unit, $145,000 for the
Adult Health and Dental Partnership, $174,157 and 3/3.0 SYE positions for
the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board's residential alcohol
and drug services at Crossroads (Adult and Youth programs) and A New
Beginning, $27,599 for the Virginia Resource Center for the
Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as $45,200 and 1/1.0 SYE evening facility attendant for the Lincolnia Center, all previously recommended for reduction as part of the proposed budget plan. The board also approved funding of $112,000 to expand the After School Program for middle schools. In addition, they approved $180,170 for full second-year funding for non-profit organizations as part of the Consolidated Community Funding Pool, as well as restored 4/4.0 SYE school education officer positions and will share the $174,456 cost of the program between the county and the Fairfax County Public Schools.
Information on the fiscal year 2004 Budget Plan, including revisions made during the April 21 Budget Markup session, is available by calling the Department of Management and Budget at 703-324-2391, TTY 711 and on the county's Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb.
Editor's Note: See
attachments (PDF format).