Discussions and decisions are underway on how to maintain the quality of life in our county with available revenue resources for the next budget year that begins July 1.
Fairfax County Executive Ed Long presented his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget to the Board of Supervisors today, Feb. 16. The proposed General Fund budget is $3.99 billion, a $168.7 million or a 4.4 percent increase over the FY 2016 Budget. If you include other appropriated funds such as federal and state grants, the total budget is $7.45 billion.
Following this timeline, the Board of Supervisors will hold public hearings and meetings, make their revisions to the proposed budget, and adopt the FY 2017 Budget in April. It then becomes effective on July 1.
Long’s proposed budget includes a 4-cent increase (per $100 of assessed value) in the FY 2017 Real Estate Tax Rate.
- The tax rate increase equals an estimated $93 million in revenue, or $23.3 million for each penny.
- The expected impact on the average homeowner’s tax bill is a $303.86 increase, which includes the increase in assessments.
Long outlined several reasons why a tax increase is needed:
- Allows the Board of Supervisors to meet its basic requirements and priorities, especially for public safety and human services.
- The continued shortfall in state funding for education is significant. Virginia is in the top 10 in both per capita and median household income, but is in the bottom 10 for public education funding.
- The economy is still affected by the lingering impacts of sequestration (federal government freeze on spending).
- High commercial vacancies – highest since 1991; latest available data shows direct office vacancy rate at 16.5 percent.
- Uneven job growth – still haven’t recovered all job losses from 2013 and 2014; tepid job growth in 2015.
- Lower than projected residential values. Assessed values of homes countywide increased only 1.64 percent in 2016.
Watch the county executive answer media questions following his presentation on Feb. 16:
The recommended transfer to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) for operations is $1.88 billion, a 3 percent, or $54.75 million increase over the current budget. Including support for school construction and debt service, the amount allotted for schools is 52.2 percent of Long’s proposed budget.
The county is also providing an additional $84.7 million for programs such as Head Start, school health, school resource officers, school crossing guards, behavioral health, after-school programming, field maintenance and recreation programs.
The proposed budget transfer to FCPS is $68 million less than the FCPS superintendent’s proposed FY 2017 budget. This difference is approximately equal to a real estate tax rate increase of 3 cents.
The county has several strategies and initiatives in place to grow and strengthen our economy:
- Lines of Business Process: Comprehensive review of 400 areas of county business
- Economic Success Strategic Plan: Growing into an Innovation Hub
- Triple A Bond Ratings: Difficult Policy and Budget Decisions Rewarded by National Rating Agencies
- More State Funding for FCPS: Local tax dollars are filling the gap for reduced state funding. A priority for the Board of Supervisors is to increase state funding for FCPS.
- Participate in a Ask Fairfax online chat with the county executive on Thursday, Feb. 25, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Submit questions here.
- Attend a Town Hall Meeting
- Sign up to attend a public hearing at the Government Center on the proposed FY 2017 Budget:
- April 5, 4 p.m.
- April 6, 1 p.m.
- April 7, 1 p.m.
- Email your feedback and comments to email@example.com through mid-April. (Please note that due to the volume, individual responses will not be possible).
- Get county budget updates via texts or email, including on the Lines of Business process, by subscribing to Fairfax Alerts.