A one-cent Real Estate Tax Rate reduction, an Economic Recovery Reserve Fund and modest increases for the county and schools are among the highlights of the FY 2022 Advertised Budget presented to the Board of Supervisors by County Executive Bryan Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Conservative Approach in Light of Pandemic Impacts
Hill noted that the FY 2022 proposal maintains the streamlined, conservative approach reflected in the revised FY 2021 Budget approved by the Board of Supervisors last May. The proposed General Fund budget is $4.49 billion, a $16.51 million increase over the FY 2021 Adopted Budget. Including other appropriated funds such as federal and state grants, the total proposed FY 2022 Budget is $8.52 billion.
“At this point, although we are hopeful that many of our revenue categories will rebound in FY 2022, the timing and breadth of that recovery is uncertain. As you will see, our strong real estate market – specifically the residential market – is the primary reason why we will be able to make some investments in county priorities in FY 2022.”
- County Executive Bryan Hill
Factoring in equalization and the one-cent reduction in the Real Estate Tax Rate, from $1.15 to $1.14 per $100 of assessed value, the average tax bill would increase by approximately $224 based on the proposal.
Hill said the proposal builds upon the county’s success utilizing federal stimulus dollars to implement public health programs, assist vulnerable residents and support nonprofits and small businesses hit hard by the pandemic. The plan includes a recommended $20 million unappropriated reserve for economic recovery, giving the county some flexibility to deal with continued impacts of the pandemic.
The budget increases disbursements by just .55% for the county and Fairfax County Public Schools, consistent with the county’s practice of equal disbursement growth for both.
For FCPS this translates to a $14.13 million increase over FY 2021, short of the $104.40 million increase requested by FCPS. FCPS represents 52.8% of General Fund disbursements in the proposal.
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Investing in Board Priorities
The proposal does incorporate modest investments in Board priorities, including Public Safety staffing, Diversion First, opioid use prevention and environmental initiatives. As was the case last year, new and increased allocations are mapped to the priority areas identified in the draft Countywide Strategic Plan. An updated version of the plan was released today.
The budget also includes 109 additional positions, primarily for the new South County Police Station and Scotts Run Fire and Rescue Station facilities and the continuation of previous initiatives including public health efforts.
As in FY 2021, the proposed budget does not include compensation increases for county employees.
Budget committee meetings take place in March and April, and public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, April 13-15. Markup (when the Board makes changes to the advertised budget) takes place on Tuesday, April 27, and the Board adopts the FY 2022 Budget on Tuesday, May 4.
In addition to providing input through the April public hearings, you can also attend the Budget Town Hall meeting in your district: Budget Town Hall Meeting schedule.