Skip Navigation LinksHome News Ask Fairfax! Archived Discussion Room
FY 2012 Proposed Budget Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

FY 2012 Proposed Budget

County Executive Anthony Griffin will answer your questions about his proposed fiscal year 2012 budget proposal.

Anthony Griffin : I presented my budget proposal at yesterday's Board of Supervisor's meeting and am ready to answer your questions.

Anonymous User : How can you take away salary increases for employees for a third straight year while continuing to increase health insurance premiums and other costs. As an employee who is proud to live in the county, I am now also expecting a property tax increase. How can you compensate for the plummeting employee morale and loss of pride in our jobs?

Anthony Griffin : There are several compensation-related questions. I regret not being able to recommend salary increases, however, the Board has invested as part of the current budget approximately $50 million in support of retirement, health insurance and worker's compensation, plus there have been no cuts in pay nor any furloughs like those taking place in Montgomery County, Prince George's County and the District.

Anonymous User : Any update on a replacement for the Massey Building? It's cited in your presentation. Has a location been selected? Timeframe? How much will it cost and how will it be paid for in the budget? Thanks.

Anthony Griffin : The Board has given preliminary approval to replacing the Massey Building on the site adjacent to the Herrity Building at the Government Center complex.

Anonymous User : The suggested change to the Pay for Performance program has two parts, one that is the incentive to perform and one I believe that is based on the adjustment of the salary range for select employee classes. Is my understanding of the second part correct? Is the second part a COLA that all employees would get or an adjustment that just some classes would get? If the performance piece is changed to be from 1% to 3%, that does not seem to provide much incentive to perform exceptionally if all you can get is a 2% increase over just meeting expectations.

Anthony Griffin : The proposed "COLA" would apply to all employees, not just certain classes.

Concerned in McLean : How much will the Tysons redevelopment and the Dulles metro silver line cost county taxpayers in this and future budgets?

Anthony Griffin : The Dulles Silver Line is substantially funded by taxes paid in the Tax Districts 1 and 2 by commercial property owners in those defined districts. The final price for Phase 2 will be determined when final engineering is completed. Tysons Corner has no immediate cost in terms of the proposed budget but it is expected that the taxpayers will share some cost over the life of the redevelopment of Tysons, however developers will pay the vast majority.

Anonymous User : The funds being used to make Temp positions full time, why is that not being used to give employees some sort of raise?

Anthony Griffin : The 400 limited term positions converted to merit was required because of IRS rules, state code and the new Health Care legislation. These positions have been filled by employees who by all practical purposes have been full time employees.

NoVA : What other ways can Fairfax raise money through taxes, fees or other sources to help offset spending needs?

Anthony Griffin : Virginia is a Dillon rule state which means that Fairfax County and other local may only do what Richmond allows. Each year we review our options and recommend any sources of revenue that we are allowed to impose. Presently we have imposed all legal options with the exception of an amusement tax will not raise significant revenue.

Javier : Although I do appreciate that the value of my home has risen as the recent assessment posted on the website; I am concerned that the amount of taxes I will pay will also rise. My question is: Does this mean that on top of that additional amount I have to pay for having a higher assessment my tax amount/100 will also raise?

Anthony Griffin : The Board authorized advertising the current rate which is $1.09. That is the maximum the rate can be next year and it is possible the Board may lower the rate. With this rate, the average homeowner will pay no more than did the average homeowner six years ago.

Anonymous User : What's the impact of no federal stimulus funding on your proposed budget? How might the potential major spending cuts by the US congress affect the county's budget? Will you have to find more money to cover those cuts?

Anthony Griffin : There is no impact, however schools received federal stimulus funding through the state and the schools will have to make up for losing that funding next year.

Herndon Resident : Mr. Griffin, Do you see within this budget the possibility of reactivating street and intersection cameras that have been disabled? My understanding is that they were discontinued in lack of funds, but I am not sure. As a motorcycle hit-and-run victim, I would have benefited greatly from the cameras being activated last September when there was no way of knowing who hit me, and no witnesses, aside from having no memory. I believe cases like this and others could actually help provide a means for people to prove their traffic case easily than have to perform crash analysis. Respectfully, Nathan Student at NOVA

Anthony Griffin : Contrary to perception, traffic cameras do not make money. The County could not afford to reinstitute the cameras.

Concerned for Aux Police/ VIPS : Is there any possibility for the budget to potentially include some dollars to be allocated towards the necessary training and insurance to allow Fairfax County Aux Police to be issued and carry a sidearm? I find it very odd and a huge risk for those retired officers as well as volunteers who serve their time with Auxiliary Police to be unable to carry a sidearm, yet – be trained and placed in harm’s way. I’m assuming this policy has never been reviewed given the legal implications and costs associated with the additional insurance, however; the cost to protect those volunteers certainly outweigh the costs of a tragedy.

Anthony Griffin : When economic times were good, firearms were not issued to auxiliary police.

Herndon : Do you expect the schools new fundraising partnership with the chamber of commerce to lower the amount of money the county has to give FCPS? Or to your knowledge, is that money in addition to county funds?

Anthony Griffin : No

Javier : Am I correct to say that Fairfax County provides the largest amount of money to the Commonwealth; however money distributed back to the County of Fairfax is disproportional? Is there any actions being taken on that regard?

Anthony Griffin : Yes, you are correct. For every dollar we send we get back 19 cents. Given the County's wealth relative to the rest of the state, it is unlikely that will change over time.

Anonymous User : Mr. Griffin, The economy is still on a shaky ground; and we, the middle class, are struggling to survive. All we hear left and right is tax increases at the federal level, residential real estate, slapping a fee on car registration, etc. Why can't the local government find innovated ways for trimming even more uncesseary expenses/projects and using the collected taxes/revenue more wisely? The middle class has to always carry the financial burden, can we just get a break?

Anthony Griffin : We have kept the tax burden on the average homeowner the same for the last seven years, recognizing your point. At the same time, we are trying to preserve those programs that make Fairfax a good place to live, work and play.

Matt in Fairfax : Mr. Griffin: A lot of localities around the country really reinforce the importance of "buying local" to their citizens. Can you beef up efforts beyond the tourism bureau (because citizens in fairfax don't really pay attention to a visitor's bureau -- we already live here) to encourage more local buying of goods so taxes stay here instead?

Anthony Griffin : The Board has endorsed the concept of buying local but the national capital region is quite mobile in their shopping habits.

EFID : Any truth to the rumor that we might be getting a COL next year?

Anthony Griffin : There is no truth to the rumor although I hope I can recommend a COLA for the FY2013 budget.

Anonymous User : What's the biggest threat to the county's budget this upcoming budget or in the future? Or are things, in general, relatively stable?

Anthony Griffin : I think it's fair to say that we've hit bottom but given the uncertainties in the economy today, it is not clear how much or how fast the County's economy will improve over the coming years.  If our revenue does not grow, then it continues to put at risk programs and compensation increases because of some costs that will increase over time that need to be paid, e.g., fuel.

Anonymous User : But the cost to give them full-time status, would that not allow for a small pay raise for already merit employees?

Anthony Griffin : Normal pay increases for County and school employees would cost in the range of $110 million dollars. The mandated action to convert the 400 positions cost $4 million. That amount doesn't go very far to restore compensation increases. 

Anonymous User : If workers were given a raise of some sort for 2 days of furloughs, has that been discussed?

Anthony Griffin : I do not recommend furloughs except in an emergency.

Anthony Griffin : Thank you for your questions. If you have any comments to add to the discussion on the proposed 2012 budget, go to