The mission of the Department of Management and Budget (DMB) is to provide financial and analytical consultant services; develop, implement and monitor a financial plan; and produce information for Fairfax County agencies, the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive, and residents in order to maintain the County's fiscal integrity and accountability, as well as to support effective decision-making. In addition, the department serves as the centralized functional support organization for the County’s enterprise resource planning system, FOCUS.
The Department of Management and Budget is chiefly responsible for coordination of the County's annual budget process, which includes the financial forecast, development of budget guidelines, review of agency requests, presentation of recommendations to the County Executive, preparation of the Advertised Budget Plan, support of deliberations by the Board of Supervisors and preparation of the Adopted Budget Plan, which exceeds $7 billion for all funds, including over $4 billion for General Fund Disbursements.
As a measure of the quality of its budget preparation, Fairfax County was awarded the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by meeting rigorous criteria for the budget as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device for the 32nd consecutive year. The department will continue to build on this success for future budget documents in order to enhance the accountability, transparency, and usefulness of the budget documents.
However, the role of the agency extends considerably beyond budget preparation. DMB oversees the sale of bonds to fund the majority of the County’s capital program, including school construction. Staff coordinates special financings in order for the County to take advantage of opportunities to provide critical facilities in a timely, cost-effective manner. The department is also the lead agency responsible for coordination and development of the County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In addition, the agency provides fiscal impact analysis for proposed legislation and coordinates requests for federal legislation.
DMB also coordinates the County’s performance measurement program, including oversight of the County’s participation in the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) comparative data initiative where 15 service areas are benchmarked annually and comparisons of efficiency and effectiveness are included in the annual budget document. In July 2016, Fairfax County was awarded ICMA’s Certificate of Excellence, its highest level of recognition for excellence in performance measurement, for the eighth consecutive year. Only 34 of 79 jurisdictions participating in ICMA’s Center for Performance Measurement earned this prestigious award in 2016.
FY 2018, the Economic, Demographic and Statistical Research (EDSR) unit is transferred from Agency 79, Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, to better align resources within County operations. EDSR conducts quantitative research, analysis and modeling in order to produce the County’s official small area estimates and forecasts of population, households and housing units. EDSR also analyzes and summarizes existing housing characteristics, commercial and industrial space information, land use information, and economic and demographic data for Fairfax County. These data and analyses produced by EDSR are used by the County for program planning, CIP planning, policy initiatives, grant writing, budgeting, revenue forecasting, and performance measurement. This work is in close alignment with DMB operations, and therefore the relocation of the EDSR unit within DMB will allow for greater collaboration and integration of the unit’s data with Countywide planning and decision-making.
DMB continues to partner successfully with the Department of Human Resources and all agencies to integrate workforce planning into County business operations in order to ensure that appropriate staffing resources are available to achieve strategic goals and objectives. This proactive focus enables the County to anticipate needs and collaborate on the most cost-effective means of meeting those needs.
The department is also home to the centralized functional support group for the County’s enterprise resource planning system, FOCUS. The FOCUS Business Support Group (FBSG) serves in the capacity of functional system administrator for the various areas of the FOCUS system including Core Financial Processing, Human Capital Management, Procurement, Customer Outreach, Functional Security, and Reporting/Analytics and Controls. All aspects of the administration of the system are implemented in partnership with the core business process owners (Department of Human Resources, Department of Management and Budget, Department of Finance, Department of Procurement and Material Management, and the Fairfax County Public Schools), who determine how policies and procedures should be applied in the system, and the technical system administrators for the system (Department of Information Technology). The location of the FBSG within the Department of Management and Budget establishes a direct link to the Chief Financial Officer and offers direct oversight of the post-production support organization by the lead of financial processes.
In recent years, the use of technology has played a significant role in the dissemination of budget information. The department has expanded the availability of data on its website, which includes all information contained in published budget volumes, as well as quarterly reviews, budget calendars, economic data, and historical files. This increased transparency, coupled with a difficult economic situation, has brought about a renewed interest from residents in budget issues. As a result, the department has focused resources on expanding public access to essential information at all stages of the budget formulation process in order to afford residents a better understanding of their County government, the services it offers, and the role they can play. In FY 2013, the department reorganized its website, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/ to make the site more user-friendly and added a County Budget Primer, whereby residents can look up budget terms and find answers to common budget questions. The department also worked closely with staff from the Department of Information Technology, the Department of Finance, and Fairfax County Public Schools on a countywide transparency initiative that went live in the fall of 2013. Residents are able to visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transparency/ to view amounts paid to County vendors and expenditures by Fund or General Fund agency each month.
As a growing and increasingly diverse community, Fairfax County faces significant budget challenges regarding increasing demands for services, as well as how to fund them. In addition to requirements associated with population growth, Fairfax County’s budget has been impacted by external factors, such as restrictions on revenue diversification, which severely limit the County’s flexibility in addressing budget requirements and also continue to place a disproportionate burden on property owners, particularly residential taxpayers. At the same time, the County faces the dual challenges of maintaining an aging infrastructure, while addressing the needs of a growing population that requires additional facilities.
The 2016 Lines of Business (LOBs) exercise was the first step of a multi-year process to shape the County’s strategic direction and validate County priorities. The LOBs process was designed to consist of two phases. Phase 1 of LOBs was intended to educate readers on the array of services provided by Fairfax County and to begin discussions at the Board of Supervisors (Board) and community levels regarding which programs/services should be more closely evaluated. The first phase was successfully completed and work is now underway on Phase 2 which will focus on programs/services to be reviewed for improved efficiency and effectiveness. Ultimately, the Board will be better positioned to approve a sustainable financial plan to invest in the County’s future success.
Opportunities for community engagement have been expanded through initiatives such as the FY 2016 LOBs which disseminated detailed and summary information regarding the County’s vast array of programs and services, offered opportunities for community input at focused LOBs meetings and at routine community budget meetings, and solicited community feedback and input via a survey. Enhanced tools on the web page are also available to facilitate easier navigation and research and to generate community interest. The County continues to seek community feedback on the budget in FY 2018.