Management and Budget

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12000 Government Center Parkway Suite 561
Fairfax, VA 22035-0074
Philip A. Hagen

FY 2012 Budget Process Questions and Answers

The information below is provided in response to questions by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during the FY 2012 budget development process.  Questions are researched by staff and packages of responses are posted regularly so check back for additional information.



County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


Please research if comparable jurisdictions to Fairfax County have school bus replacement programs.  What is the comparable average age of these bus fleets?

What are best practices in this field?


What is the FCPS dropout rate and how is it calculated?


Please provide a summary list of vehicles in the fleet broken out by vehicle type with an estimated replacement cost included.


What is the impact of VGLA scores on FCPS’ academic achievement and how would schools’ test scores change if VGLA results were excluded?


Please provide a broad breakdown of the 3544 County units that DVS services?  How many are actual vehicles and how many are non-motorized units.


Please provide an update to the school’s FY 2011 budget, including changes at the state and federal levels subsequent to budget adoption.


Please provide options for implementing the recently approved referendum concerning real restate tax relief for the elderly and disabled.


The number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals is up 42 percent since 2006, to the point that now one in every four students in the County school system is in that category according to FCPS budget documents. This seems counterintuitive in a county with the highest average household income in the nation and less than 5 percent unemployment.

Here are some questions that might help us understand this better:

1. What is happening that causes this trend?

2. What are the criteria for eligibility?

3. Is this (1 in 4) a higher or lower percentage of the school population than other school systems in Virginia? How much?


Please provide the total cost of the “After Kindergarten SACC program” and also a breakdown of cost per school.


What is the new job category called “Functional Supervisor” that FCPS added in 2010? How many employees have this title? What are their duties?

How were the responsibilities of these positions handled prior to 2010?


Does the County Executive’s budget account for state deficiencies in Mental Health beds that might be passed along to localities?


Please provide an overview of the State funding issues that will potentially impact FCPS.


Explain why the level of delinquent collections is similar between Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes. Are there additional procedures that the County could be employing to increase the collection rate for the personal property tax?


Please provide details on the $1.2 million savings associated with the closing of Clifton Elementary School cited on Slide 20 of the 3-15-11 FCPS presentation.


Please provide a breakdown of the computation of the $7.2 million increase for workers compensation/self-insurance found on Slide 20 of the County Executive’s budget presentation.


When a school resource officer is out for more than two days, the police are required to replace the SRO with a patrol officer.  Why can’t the school security force provide the temporary replacement?


Please provide a summary of the School Health dollars and how they must be expended.


Please provide a summary of the timing, amount and use of ARRA funds received by FCPS.  Include both General Fund and Title I.


Please provide a status report on the County’s retirement funds.


Please state the amount of fees paid to outside law firms in the last three years by Fairfax County Public Schools, broken down by category of representation (i.e., contract negotiation, litigation defense, litigation prosecution, financial advice and counsel, etc.)


Please provide several options for compensation-related adjustments for employees with both gross cost and net take-home amount for employees.


Please provide costs for possible options for compensation adjustments for FCPS employees such as a one percent increase, a one percent bonus, and a $1,000 bonus.


Please provide a list of all reductions that have been made as a result of cuts directed by the County Executive during the FY 2010 and FY 2011 budgets.


Please provide additional information on the $48.0 million “Reserve Available” on the School Operating Fund Statement.


Please provide an update on the removal from service of BLS units including the impact on ambulance fee revenues.


Please provide a chart that compares originally projected versus actual FCPS student enrollment figures for the last five years.


What is the amount of stimulus funds allocated to the County’s human services programs? How were they allocated?  What are the plans to support these programs once the stimulus funds are gone?


What is the size of the “School Security” entity?  How many employees and what is the budget amount?   What duties does this agency cover? Also, please describe why SUVs and trucks are needed and if school security steps in if a crossing guard or SRO is absent.


Please provide details on the additional $1.2 million requested by the Human Services Council for intellectual disabilities (ID) graduates from County high schools including the impact of State budget decisions.


Does the school system have a process for third party review of programs and expenditures? If so, who does that person report to and are the reports publically available?


Regarding the use of Cable Funding to support key initiatives: What is the plan for spending $2 million for web-based social media security and functionality? If this is truly needed and not separately funded, what other IT functions would be affected by dedicating resources to this function?  What would be the impact if this was not funded or if only $1 million was spent on this function in FY 2012?


How much does FCPS spend for instruction of students who are suspended and what is the cost of transporting students to reassigned schools?


Please provide a status report on the Child Care Assistance and Referral (CCAR) program.


Why does FCPS appear to annually estimate expenditures significantly above its approved budget?  Why does FCPS annually estimate available funds to be significantly less than its approved budget?  Since 2003, FCPS has expended less than its approved budget by a minimum of $22.5 million and a maximum of $105.7 million. Why? Actual starting balances have exceeded FCPS adopted budgets by a minimum of $52 million and as much as $136 million annually. Why? Actual year-end balances have exceeded the adopted budget amounts by a minimum of $98.7 million and as much as $136.2 million annually.  Why?


Please explain the increase in Fringe Benefits since FY 2008.


The number of students qualifying for free or reduced- price meals increases annually and is now at one in four FCPS students.  However, the fund’s ending balance also rises annually ($8.45 million in FY 2008; $10.87 million in FY 2009; $16.04 million in FY 2010 and projected to be $15.37 million in FY 2012.)  What is the reason for this apparent inconsistency?


Please provide information on whether subsidy losses are impacting the ability of non-profit child care providers to stay in business and provide services to children.


Why does FCPS have an unspent construction reserve of $66 million and why did FCPS only use $130 of the $155 million authorized bonds when they have such a large CIP backlog?


The Advertised Budget includes a disbursement increase of $600,000 for Line of Duty Act obligations. Will that obligation be imposed on the County in FY 2012?


Please provide detail regarding the $155 million in expenditure savings reflected in the FY 2011 Carryover.  Specifically provide an explanation of the definition of undelivered orders, automatic carryover and unencumbered carryover and the expenses and funding associated with each category and how these categories differ in total from the previous two carryover reviews.  Also, provide a detailed summary of expenditure savings that occurred in FY 2011 Carryover which make it possible to establish an additional reserve for FY 2013 in the amount of $51 million.  What part of the expenditure savings in FY 2011 that was used to establish the FY 2013 additional reserve of $51 million is recurring?


What efforts are being implemented to reduce costs by utilizing technology such as teleconferencing to reduce intra-county travel for county employee meetings? What is the county’s policy with respect to the number of employees who attend any meeting and how are the attendees selected?


Please provide a detailed analysis of the VRS reserve including when it was first established and at what funding level as well as the current status of the reserve as part of the FY 2011 Carryover Review.  Please detail any additions to the reserve since it was first established as well as all uses of the reserve.


Given the gap in the current number of domestic violence beds, what are plans to accommodate additional requirements?




What is the estimated cost for providing an ALS incumbent school for 15 trainees?




Until recently, Lake Accotink was stocked with trout in the spring and fall for local recreation activities.  The fall stocking program was discontinued first, and then the spring stocking program (possibly due to the dredging project), so there is no opportunity for older residents to enjoy the limited water recreation opportunities at Lake Accotink.  The program still exists at Lake Fairfax Park, which is quite a distance for people in the eastern part of the county.  Please provide details of the stocking program, state and local permits required and their costs, and options for restarting the trout stocking and fishing program at Lake Accotink.




Was privatization of any county provided service reflected in the FY 2012 budget? If not, why not?

Can any savings be realized in FY 2012 by privatizing additional services and, if so, what services and how much can be saved? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?




Please provide a breakdown of non-profit dollars for human services funded in the FY 2012 budget.  Provide details on the amount of additional funds these dollars are able to leverage.




Please provide information on helicopters used by FCPD, including age of equipment, usage, replacement schedule etc.  Also, how often does FCPD transport patients to hospitals by helicopter and is that activity billed to insurance companies.   Where in the FY 2012 budget is the helicopter replacement item?




Are there any positions funded in the FY 2012 budget that have been vacant for more than six months? If so, what are they and how much FY 2012 budgeted cost would be saved by eliminating those positions? If staff recommends against eliminating those positions, explain the reason for staff’s position.




What are the costs, if any, to provide the option to former county employees who do not stay on the county’s health insurance to remain on an inactive roster that would allow them to subsequently enroll in the county’s health insurance program? Are there budgetary or non-budgetary reasons not to provide this option to former county employees? Explain.




What is the status of the Integrated Pest Management Program for FY 2012 including the recommended tax rate?  What are the options for changing or temporarily eliminating the tax rate?




Referencing funding for ADA compliance, is there a timetable and budget projection for addressing ADA violations beyond the $1.6 million included in Fund 303, County Construction in the FY 2012 budget?




Are new FAIRFAX CONNECTOR buses being ordered with voice annunciator systems and visual displays in the interior of the buses so that people with visual/hearing disabilities will be able to safely travel on CONNECTOR?




In preparing the request to fund Fairfax Connector in FY2012, what analysis was performed to determine whether, on a cost-benefit basis, any existing routes or services should be recommended for reduction, elimination or consolidation?




Regarding the proposed disbursement increase for County transit routes serving Reston East Park and Ride: What is the cost?  Is any service added or expanded?  What are the benefits, including projections of new riders as opposed to existing riders who might use the added routes for convenience? How much of the total cost could be avoided if only the cost associated with relocating existing service was funded? Are there additional costs for “relocating” existing service? Explain.




Please provide the process and a timeline for getting the L step back in the queue for Police officers.




Mark-up of the FY 2012 budget occurred on April 12, 2011. As of July 1, 2011, “the combined revenue and disbursement balance, after funding obligations and Managed Reserve is $59.25 million.” What portion of the increased revenues and/or decreased expenses that contributes to the $59.25 million was known to staff as of April 12, 2011?




What are the “current projections” of revenues and expenditures that cause staff to conclude that “there will be a shortfall of well over $100 million” in FY 2013?




The Carryover package includes an increase of $6 million to Fund 501 “for accrued liability adjustments.” When did staff become aware of these increased accrued liabilities? Explain why “case reserves for reported claims have increased by only 7.60 percent while accrued liability for IBNR claims has increased by 21.22 percent.”




Explain in detail the proposal to relocate the Human Services agencies. Was this presented to and/or approved by the Board? Who made the decision to make this relocation? What is the impact on residents who receive services at the existing location? Is $1 million the total extra cost associated with this relocation? Has the County executed the lease for the new facilities? Why was this expenditure not part of the FY 2012 budget deliberations?




When and how did the Board of Supervisors direct that “funding of $2 million, as supported by a transfer from Fund 105, Cable Communications, [be] included for deployment of up-to-date technology to support secure access of new web-based social media functionalities?” Exactly what is the purpose and value of this investment? What will the county be able to do after this investment is made that it cannot currently do? Why is that worth $2 million?




Regarding the use of $5 million from Fund 319, Affordable Housing Fund, “to support several affordable housing initiatives,” when was it determined to use these funds for this purpose? Were these funds available as of April 12, 2011? If so, during budget deliberations, was the Board presented with the option of using these funds to fund housing programs in the FY 2012 budget before the budget was approved?  What will the balance of Fund 319 be if $5 million is used as proposed in the Carryover package?




Has the final dismissal order been entered in the Public Service Corporation Litigation?




The Carryover package includes a $5 million increase in expenditures for the Comprehensive Services Act funding “based on anticipated expenditures in FY 2012”. When was the need for the increased expenditures identified? On what will the increased expenditures be spent?




Regarding Fund 319, The Penny for Affordable Housing Fund, provide a detailed explanation of the $12.9 million encumbered carryover including what it represents and why it was not expended in FY 2011?




The Carryover package indicates that the FY 2012 ending balance for Fund 112, Energy/Resource Recovery Facility, will be $35.6 million. Are any General Funds being expended in FY 2012 for costs that could be paid from this reserve? Can any portion of this reserve be transferred to the General Fund? What is the proposed use of this reserve?




The Carryover package indicates that the FY 2012 ending balance in Fund 114, I-95 Refuse Disposal, will be $35.3 million. Are any General funds being expended in FY 2012 for costs that could be paid from this reserve? Can any portion of this reserve be transferred to the General Fund? What is the proposed use of this reserve?




Sewer Revenue (Fund 400) in FY2011 was $7.9 million (5.4 percent) higher than the FY2011 estimate. When was staff aware of the increase? Is this higher revenue projected going forward to determine future sewer rates? Why was the Board not informed of these revenue increases before increasing sewer rates for FY 2012? What is the impact on the projected future sewer rate increases as a result of the current and projected revenue increases?




Sewer Operation and Maintenance costs (Fund 401) in FY 2011 were $4.4 million (excluding encumbered carryover) less than the FY 2011 Revised Budget Plan. When was staff aware of this decrease? Why was the Board not informed of these expenditure decreases before setting sewer rates for FY 2012? Are these lower expenses projected going forward to determine future sewer rates? What is the impact on the projected future sewer rate increases as a result of the current and projected expenditure decreases?




Sewer Bond Construction (Fund 408) in Fiscal 2011 had additional funding “available due to favorable bids on capital projects and is being held in reserve until project schedules require additional funding.” What is the impact on the projected future sewer rate increases as a result of this additional available funding?




For the Retirement Systems (Funds 600, 601 and 602), in FY 2011 actual revenues (through May 2011) increased $773.7 million (140%) over the FY 2011 estimate. FY 2011 actual expenditures were $24.8 million (7.1%) less than the FY 2011 Revised Budget Plan. What was the total employer contribution to the systems in FY2010 and FY2011 and budgeted for FY 2012?




For the OPEB Trust Fund (Fund 603), in FY 2011 actual revenues (through May 2011) were $3.1 million (20.4%) over the FY 2011 estimate. FY2011 actual expenditures were $10.9 million (61.8%) less than the FY 2011 Revised Budget Plan. What explains the differences between the actual and budgeted figures? What was the total employer contribution to the trust fund in FY 2010 and FY 2011 and budgeted for FY 2012?

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