Board of Supervisors Approves FY 2025 Markup Package

Published on
04/30/2024
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Striving to balance the county’s most urgent priorities and the tax impacts of the FY 2025 Budget, the Board of Supervisors approved a markup package on Tuesday that reduces the tax rate from the amount advertised by 1 cent, from $1.135 to $1.125 for the coming fiscal year, and phases in zoning, fire marshal, land development and senior center fee increases over two years. The new rate will result in an average Real Estate Tax bill increase of just over $450. The board will adopt the FY 2025 Budget at their meeting next Tuesday, May 7.

“Thank you to all the county residents who took the time to send emails, make phone calls, testify before the board and have your voices heard. The FY2025 Budget is a sound and responsible budget that maintains our core services, invests in the people who provide them, and prepares the county for future, manageable growth without new major programmatic spending,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay. “The budget fully funds the first collective bargaining agreements with our first responders, and provides all county employees with performance, longevity, and cost of living increases. We must continue to compete for the best and brightest in this employees’ market in order to deliver the high quality, core services our residents rely on.”

The mark-up package emphasized that the county must continue to push the state to implement “real tax reform” and recognize its role in directly supporting public schools and Metro infrastructure. Board members have repeatedly cited the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study that indicated Virginia schools receive 14% less state funding per pupil than the national average.

Reductions identified by county agencies as part of the FY 2025 Budget preparation process were also noted. Those reductions totaled over $34 million, more than a penny from the Real Estate Tax Rate.

Changes to Advertised Budget Proposal

Additional funding adjustments approved by the board as part of mark-up include a $2,000 increase in the stipend for planning commission members, $25,000 to restore the Youth Leadership Program, which provides opportunities for high school students to intern with county agencies during the summer months and participate in educational sessions on county government, and deferrals of a proposed increase in the county fuel budget and information technology (IT) investments. Additional funding for IT needs is anticipated to become available as part of the upcoming FY 2024 Carryover Review at the end of this fiscal year.

Schools

Funding for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) remains unchanged from the advertised budget proposal, with an additional $165 million (a 6.8% increase) included in the FCPS operating transfer. This increase is approximately $89 million less than the $254 million in additional funding FCPS requested in their FY 2025 Budget. Board members agreed that approving the full 10.5% requested increase would have “placed too heavy of a burden on our taxpayers.” The mark-up package notes the board is optimistic that additional state funding will help to shrink the shortfall and allow for investments in teacher compensation.

Employee Compensation

Most general county employees will see a compensation increase ranging from 3.25 to 6 percent in FY 2025, including performance and longevity increase and funding for a 2% market rate adjustment. Close to 1,200 of these employees will also receive an additional 5% increase based on the results of annual benchmark reviews. The budget also funds the contracts negotiated with the county’s two public safety unions as part of the inaugural collective bargaining process. Non-represented public safety employees in the Office of the Sheriff will receive merit and longevity increases, with many benefiting from a new 10-year longevity step, in addition to the MRA.

FY 2026 Budget Guidance

The board anticipates another challenging budget in FY 2026 based on early forecasts, with projected requirements for employee compensation and schools leaving “limited flexibility” to address other priorities or relief for taxpayers. The guidance emphasized the need for tax reform, not only to address state underfunding of schools, but also to give localities revenue options beyond real estate taxes. “While the world around us continues to modernize, Virginia’s tax structures remain rooted in the past,” the package noted.

More information on the markup package is available online. The FY 2025 Budget is scheduled for adoption at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

For more information visit the Department of Management and Budget.

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