County Executive Proposes $3.3 Billion Budget


Feb. 23, 2009
OPA 044/09


More Information 

On Feb. 23, 2009, Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin proposed a General Fund budget of $3,313,476,563 for Fiscal Year 2010 (July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010), a decrease of 3.70 percent from the FY 2009 Revised Budget Plan.  Excluding adjustments in the current fiscal year, the decrease from the FY 2009 Adopted Budget is $39.1 million or 1.17 percent.  The proposed budget increases the Real Estate Tax rate to $1.04 per $100 of assessed value.  The total of all Appropriated Funds is $5,839,237,244.

The recommended transfer to the Public School Operating Fund is $1,626,600,722, which is the same level as Fiscal Year 2009.  However, the transfer request approved by the Fairfax County School Board on Feb. 5, 2009, is $1,683,372,525, an increase of $56.8 million, or 3.5 percent over the FY 2009 Adopted Budget Plan transfer.  In addition, the County’s Transfer for School Debt Service is $163,767,929, an increase of $9,134,754, or 5.9 percent, over the FY 2009 Revised Budget Plan.  The combined transfer for School Operations and Debt Service is $1.790 billion, which represents 54 percent of total County General Fund Disbursements.

The County Executive recommended an increase in the real estate tax rate that will hold average taxes paid by residential property owners relatively flat with their FY 2009 payment level.  At the proposed real estate tax rate of $1.04 per $100 of assessed value, along with the newly proposed Stormwater Service District rate of $0.015 per $100 of assessed value, the taxes paid by the average residential taxpayer will be $14 more than their FY 2009 tax bill. 

In order to balance this budget, substantial action was needed to eliminate a projected deficit of approximately $650 million.  This has been achieved through a three-pronged strategy that sought a balanced approach to the County’s budget challenges:

  • Eliminate non-contractual or legally obligated growth in the budget that would have provided for inflationary increases, salary adjustments and increasing workloads
  • Reduce, reengineer, reorganize, redesign and eliminate various County lines of business
  • Include revenue enhancements to keep the same relative tax burden on the residential homeowner and increase user fees to recover an equitable return of County costs to users of various services. 

In his presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 23, Griffin added that this approach “was validated time and again during our Community Dialogues and Employee Brownbags on the budget this fall.  All areas of the County’s budget will be affected.  Schools, public safety and human services comprise approximately 75 percent of the budget.  All of these areas will be significantly impacted by my FY 2010 recommendations since it would not be possible to balance the budget without adjustments to these areas while maintaining an acceptable and sustainable level of services.  Throughout the Community Dialogue sessions, County residents endorsed the principles of maintaining our current quality of life in Fairfax County.  They understood that programmatic reductions would be necessary and called upon us to protect the vulnerable constituencies in our community. Understandably, there were differing perspectives and competing priorities and demands voiced during the public process, but the consensus supported County leaders making decisions based on compassion, equity and fiscal accountability.”

The County Executive’s proposed FY 2010 Budget includes expenditure reductions totaling $106.4 million and eliminates 524 regular positions.  In addition, it includes elimination of County employee compensation increases.  Some of these reductions take advantage of cost saving strategies; however, many reduce or eliminate services residents use and enjoy.  The reduction alternatives include modification in County service hours and service levels, staffing decreases and program eliminations.  Funding reductions were made in virtually every County agency and both County residents and employees will be impacted by these actions.

In summarizing his budget address, Griffin added, “Albert Einstein said, ‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.’  The FY 2010 Budget proposal maintains our commitment to quality service while implementing creative ways to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.  I believe our current budget challenge provides an opportunity to make changes in how our services are provided both next year and in the long term.  The FY 2010 Budget recommendations will likely change some service expectations of our residents and even the nature of our local government to some extent.  In spite of changing expectations and capacity, our commitment to provide effective and efficient government is unwavering.”

The following sections provide summary data of interest.  For additional information, refer to the Fairfax County FY 2010 Budget Page, where all FY 2010 Budget-related documents are available for review.

General Fund Revenue

Prior to any recommendations for rate changes, the FY 2010 General Fund revenue estimate is $3.017 billion, a decrease of $303.7 million from the FY 2009 Adopted Budget Plan estimates and $265.2 million or 8.1 percent from the FY 2009 Revised Budget Plan level.  This baseline revenue estimate is based on a decrease of $208.2 million as a result of the 9.95 percent average decrease in real estate property assessed values and a net reduction of $57.1 million, or 4.6 percent, in all other revenue categories.   With the proposed General Fund real estate tax rate increase and other revenue enhancements noted below, total General Fund revenue is anticipated to be $3,296.3 million, an increase of 0.4 percent over the FY 2009 Revised Budget Plan level.

General Fund Disbursements

FY 2010 General Fund Disbursements (which include the General Fund as well as the transfers to Fairfax County Public Schools, Metro, Fairfax Connector and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, among others) total $3.31 billion, which is a decrease of $127.4 million, or 3.70 percent from the FY 2009 Revised Budget Plan. Excluding adjustments in the current fiscal year of $88.3 million, the decrease from the FY 2009 Budget is $39.1 million or 1.17 percent.  

Expenditure Reductions

The FY 2010 Budget proposal includes reductions in County spending totaling $106.4 million.  All reduction proposals were reviewed and evaluated. These proposals were put forth by County agencies after extensive analysis and professional assessment.  They represented creative and innovative approaches to make service delivery more efficient and sought to preserve core county services and those services that protect the health and welfare of County residents.   It is important to note that the recommended spending reductions were not made equally across County departments and programs, recognizing that some services are fundamental to the County’s core mission.  The reductions include:

  • Program Eliminations:  Examples include elimination of the Supervised Visitation and Exchange program, Hospital-Based Medical Detoxification services, elimination of staffing for the County’s Watch Center, elimination of the Seniors on the Go! taxicab voucher program and the County’s Publications Desk/Gift Shop.

  • Efficiencies and Restructurings: Examples include assorted management and administrative positions, outsourcing of delinquent personal property and BPOL collections, consolidation of Planning Commission support into the Department of Planning and Zoning, and revised vehicle replacement schedules.

  • Facility Closures/Reduced Service Hours/Levels:  Examples include reduced library hours, and the closure of Groveton Senior Center, the David R. Pinn Community Center, and the Western Fairfax (Chantilly) Outpatient clinic site.

  • Employee-Related Reductions: Examples include elimination of cash awards for most employee award programs, reductions of employee training funding, elimination of the Magistrate pay supplement, reduction of employer contribution to health insurance premiums for part-time employees and elimination of the Police Cadet program.

  • Public/Employee Suggestions:  Examples include eliminating printed versions of “Courier”- the employee newsletter, various energy-saving measures and changes in the County’s PC replacement program.

Compensation

The FY 2010 Budget proposal eliminates pay increases for employees to include pay for performance, merit increments and longevity step increases as well as the associated fringe benefit funding for a total savings of $19.1 million.  It should be noted that the reduction in the pay for performance and merit increases in FY 2010 may also have an impact on employees in terms of the calculation of their retirement annuity.  Funding is not included to make an adjustment to the retirement calculation to compensate for this impact.

Proposed Tax Rate and Fee Adjustments for FY 2010

FY 2010 tax rates and/or levies are summarized in the FY 2010 Proposed Tax Rates and Fees Chart.

Other Revenue Enhancements

The FY 2010 Advertised Budget Plan recommends a series of revenue enhancements totaling $12.6 million and not captured in the above table.  These increased fees and charges are based on actual costs of service provision, are comparable to rates in neighboring jurisdictions, and are consistent with suggestions from County residents, employees and agencies on budget alternatives.  The fee and charge increases are in addition to savings initiatives in these programs and will facilitate retaining of these important programs. 

These enhancements include:

  • $5.5 million in Land Development Services building and inspection fees 
  • $2.0 million in zoning fees
  • $1.5 million in penalties for late payment of Personal Property Taxes
  • $1.3 million in School Age Child Care (SACC) fees
  • $0.6 million in Alarm Ordinance Violations
  • $0.5 million in fire permits, overtime testing fees, and faulty fire alarms
  • $0.3 million in Health Department fees
  • $0.2 million in library charges
  • $0.2 million in facility rental fees
  • $0.1 million in fees charged for field use by non-County residents
  • $0.1 million in transportation fees for the summer Therapeutic Recreation Program 
  • $0.1 million in alarm registration fees
  • $0.1 million in fees charged for criminal history records
  • $0.02 million in taxes on vehicles without a valid Virginia license plate

Public Hearing

Public hearings on the FY 2010 Advertised Budget Plan will be held in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax on March 30 at 7 p.m., March 31 at 3 p.m. and April 1 at 3 p.m.  The Fairfax County School Board will make its budget presentation to the Board of Supervisors during the March 31 hearing, beginning at 7 p.m.  

To sign up as a speaker, the public should call the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903. The Board Auditorium is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Additional Information

For further information on the FY 2010 Advertised Budget Plan, contact the Department of Management and Budget at 703-324-2391, TTY 711, or access the budget online. The entire budget is also available on CD-ROM.

In addition, the public is encouraged to share their thoughts on the budget through the online forum on the County's budget page and/or the telephone hotline, 703-324-9400.

Reference copies of the FY 2010 Advertised Budget Plan are available at all County libraries.  A reference copy will also be available in the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

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