Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn made the following statements regarding the county's budget at the May 5 Board of Supervisors meeting:
Statement on Board Decision on the FY 2020 Third Quarter Review:
Although I am new to the budget process as a member of this governing body, I do recognize how unusual is this third quarter budget is, particularly with respect to the $200 million in CARES Act funding. I want to commend the Chairman and the County Executive for the speed in moving forward with critical appropriations to nonprofits and to our towns. Going forward, I anticipate additional funds being used to help small businesses and others offset the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable in our county. I also want to thank the Chairman for addressing in his motion today the public health needs that will require additional expenditures by our Health Department. This builds on answers to several of the budget questions we asked, which helps us all get a better understanding of the public health needs, including for:
- Likely hundreds of contact investigators
- Medically-supervised and supportive isolation and quarantine for residents that are not as fortunate as many of us to have guest bedrooms and an understanding employer
- IT equipment required to support the fastest mobilization of public health resources in Fairfax County history
And why should we make public health top priority for our share of CARES Act funding? It’s not just because this is the primary purpose of the CARES Act, nor just because we are in the middle of the biggest pandemic in any of our lifetimes. It’s also because of the fact that most of the people getting this virus are also some of our vulnerable residents. Latinos represent 55% of all COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County even though they represent only 16% of the population. And why is this? Is it because many of these Latinos are doing the front line/low paid work in our long-term care facilities, are working multiple jobs, or live in homes where quarantine and social isolation are unrealistic? We have an obligation to dedicate all necessary public health resources to stop the spread of the virus in our jurisdiction, and in Fairfax County stopping COVID starts with the Latino community. There has never been a more direction application of the One Fairfax policy - how much we help the Latino community during the coming months will drive how healthy we are as a county, and how fast we can resume normal economic activity. I understand we will soon be getting a briefing from the Health Department on the state of the pandemic in our county and what resources they need to implement the necessary public health strategies. With that understanding, and with the monthly updates we will be receiving from the County Executive, I will be supporting this motion.
FY 2021 Budget Markup Statement:
It was Feb. 25, less than three months ago, when we had a presentation from the County Executive on a proposed FY 2021 Budget that showed a strong economy and opportunities to provide long-awaited plans for increases in affordable housing, transportation improvements and moving forward on environmental initiatives. Compensation increases for teachers and our county employees were achievable.
And then our world changed drastically with the arrival of COVID-19. It is heartbreaking to see what this pandemic has done to our residents, small businesses, nonprofits and our community.
Now our focus is on continuity of critical county operations, public health planning and operations related to the pandemic, as well as helping our most vulnerable residents. It is also clear that we still don’t know what the final impacts of the virus will be, so we must continue to be flexible and strategic. But I strongly believe that we will recover and it should be noted that the Board of Supervisors will have the opportunity to make adjustments at our quarterly reviews. This budget is by no means a done deal, and I expect will be more of a “working budget” until the pandemic has passed. As our economic outlook improves, we can make changes to focus again on our priorities that make Hunter Mill District and Fairfax County a great place to live, work and play. I assure our residents that our dialogue will continue on the budget and I look forward to it.
Budget Timeline - The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to adopt the FY 2021 Budget on May 12