Management and Budget

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

FY 2016 Budget Process Questions and Answers

The information below is provided in response to questions by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during the FY 2016 budget development process.  Questions are researched by staff and packages of responses are posted regularly so check back for additional information.


Responses to BOS Questions - Package 1 (3/11/2015)


County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


Please provide a breakdown of pension expenditures between active employees and retirees.


*    What are the specific reasons that there are higher per pupil costs for special education/ESOL students?


*    What is the fiscal impact if the Board wants to expand the number of acres allowed under the tax relief program up to a maximum of 5 acres?


*    Please provide the average class size by jurisdiction as well as the average class size by Fairfax County school.


*    What is the impact if the Board chooses to reinstate a tax deferral program for the elderly and disabled?


*    For the last 5 years, please provide a spreadsheet that shows projected versus actual FRM, ESOL and total student enrollment for each elementary, middle, secondary and high school. For this purpose, please show separately the projected numbers used to prepare both the Proposed Budget and the projected numbers used to prepare the detailed approved budgets for each school as well as the actual numbers.


*    Please provide an update on recent changes to pension funding.


Can FCPS reduce school bus fuel consumption by:

1.   Reducing the number of school bus stops.

2.   Increasing bus capacity and require new bus riders to register for bus service well ahead of the school year to allow for planners to sufficiently forecast how many “full” buses are needed.

3.   Eliminating unnecessary bus idling.

4.   Expanding pedestrian and bicycle routes to schools where feasible.


*    Are there other Northern Virginia jurisdictions with a grass code similar to Fairfax County?  What is that code and what is the property owner charged if the jurisdiction cuts the grass?  The Washington Post stated Arlington County charges a non-compliant property owner $600.  Is there a state ceiling on what the County can charge and if so, what is it?


*    ACC, Recreation, and the school system offer summer programs for children. A coordinated effort might be more efficient.


*    Please provide background on the fuel prices recommended in the FY 2016 Advertised Budget Plan. Are there any surpluses available in the County’s fuel budget?




*    Please summarize the County’s funding for IT Projects, including why funding for the selected projects was provided.




*    Please explain the discrepancy between the 2.87% revenue growth and the 2.61% expenditure growth as shown on slides 7 and 8 of the County Executive's budget presentation.




*    Please provide additional information on the proposed closing of the Annandale Adult Day Health Care Program site.




*    What is the possibility of a one-time increase of the $155 million yearly cap on school bond sales for capital improvement projects by $13.1 million?




Responses to BOS Questions - Package 2 (3/26/2015)


County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


*    If the Healthy Families Fairfax Program is eliminated, does the County offer these or similar services in other programs that these individuals can access?  If so, please detail those services and programs.


*    Please provide a breakdown of the $19.7 million included in the FCPS budget for the 1.0% Market Rate Adjustment by employee category (teachers etc.)


*    Please explain what is driving the need for additional public assistance positions over the last several years.




*    Please explain the SACC proposal for fee increases including data on market comparison to private providers.




*    Why are 401(k) retirement funds included as part of net assets under the Tax Relief program for the Elderly and Disabled, especially when pension funds are not included?




*    What was the recent Supreme Court decision pertaining to BPOL and how will this affect Fairfax County?




*    Please provide a history of the sequestration reserve, including how it was originally funded, how funds in it have been utilized, and (if applicable) note any guidelines for usage that were approved.




*    Please provide an overview of what the library system does with donations given to the library system by “Friends of the Libraries” groups.  Please include the accounting of funds and what programs/materials they support.




*    What options are there to fully fund the MRA for County staff?




Responses to BOS Questions - Package 3 (4/7/2015)


County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


*    Please discuss the proposed reduction in DPZ positions as it relates to the planning and development process.




*    Please provide comparative data for the Fairfax County Public Library compared to other similar jurisdictions.




*    Please provide options to the current provision of services under the grass code, to include alternative funding options.




*    How does the Healthy Families Fairfax budget reduction align with the Board of Supervisors and FCPS priority to prepare children for a great start in education and life?  Please outline any subsequent program that will serve this population and its funding expectations.




*    Please report back to the Board with information on issues related to Fire and Rescue vehicle apparatus replacement.




*    Please report back to the Board with information on the impact of eliminating the Flu Shot Program for Public Safety personnel.




*    Please report back to the Board with information on the status of staffing issues in the Fire and Rescue Department.




*    What would be the effect on the General Employee’s pension if, for new employees, the County set a minimum retirement age of 60 and raised the rule of 85 to a rule of 90?




*    What other options exist for bringing the respective pension funds up to the level of funding required by the bonding agencies, other than direct County contributions that exceed employee matches?




*    What is the remaining cost to bring County and Park properties into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act?




*    What is the value of land owned by the County and currently unused, which is believed to be marketable?




*    Please explain why the positions proposed for elimination appear to have lower average salaries than the average salaries of the positions being added.  It looks like the estimates for adding positions includes benefits, but the elimination of positions may not include the corresponding reduction in the cost of benefits.




*    How many full-time merit positions have been eliminated since FY 2010 and how many non-merit positions were added and/or filled during that time?




Responses to BOS Questions - Package 4 (4/13/2015)


County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


Please explain the current status and schedule of hiring the 28 new “Booster Shot” positions and how the increased fees help to offset the costs of those hires. Additionally, is it realistic to expect that all 28 positions can be hired and trained within the fiscal year?




What is the amount of extra funding (above employee matches) put into the respective pension funds each of the last five years, separating out the regular budget and carryover, and what are the projected extra contributions over the next 3-5 years?




What opportunities are there to advertise services available at the Annandale Adult Day Health Care site?




Health Center site by six months?  Please respond to the three proposals submitted by the Fairfax County Adult Day Care Associates at the April 8, 2015 Public Hearing held by the Board of Supervisors.




How many children participate in both before and after-school SACC?




What are the County and FCPS commitments to the continued Pre-K expansion in the FY 2016 budget?




How much revenue would be realized by charging a $100 annual fee for Middle School After School (MSAS) programs, with an exemption for children on free and reduced lunch?




Since FY 2010, how much money has been spent on the County’s various housing programs. Please include both general and non-general funds.




Please provide an analysis of the savings that could be achieved by reducing the budgeted agency price per gallon for fuel.




Please provide information on the library communication-related issue cited in testimony by the Chairman of Fairfax Library advocates.




How much money would be saved if the Pre-Social Security Benefit were eliminated for future hires?  Please include both the County and FCPS.  Do any surrounding jurisdictions have such a benefit?




Responses to BOS Questions - Package 5 (4/15/2015)


County-Related Questions


School-Related Questions


Please provide the General Fund costs associated with increasing the Market Rate Adjustment to various amounts, including the full 1.68% adjustment.


*    What is the year-by-year annual FCPS expenditure for outside legal counsel over the last five years? How many hours of legal work were billed by outside counsel in each of those years?


What did the County spend on non-local (outside the DC area) travel and training last year? 


*     Please provide an update on the current gap between the Schools Operating transfer request and the transfer funded in the County’s Advertised Budget, reconciling back to the initial $14 million differential. 


What are the alternatives and how will issues be addressed if the proposed reduction to reduce one service director position and restructure staff within jail-based behavioral health services at the Adult Detention Center (ADC) is not restored?




Provide details on why Fairfax County self-imposed a tax exemption moratorium. Does the City of Fairfax have a Consolidated Community Funding Pool Program in addition to the tax exemption program that provides relief to the Brain Foundation’s three group homes there? 




Provide details on Loudoun County’s tax exemption program for nonprofits.




Please provide a list of environmental initiatives that the County supports.




Please provide comparative data on Sheriff’s compensation in surrounding jurisdictions.




Please provide details on how pay equity for the Sheriff could be achieved with cost neutrality.




Please provide a summary of the Legal Services Contract for Persons with Disabilities program, including a discussion of any revenue that would reduce the net cost of the reduction.



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