Podcast: Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill on His Proposed FY 2021 Budget and Strategic Plan

Bryan Hill and Jim Person

On the March episode of the “Connect with County Leaders” Podcast, Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill discusses the proposed FY2021 budget that he presented to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 25. The county executive talks about what was proposed, as well as the strategic plan that was incorporated into his budget presentation.


The budget focuses on board priorities including school readiness, affordable housing, environmental stewardship and education, and aligns with the priority outcome areas identified during the development of the Countywide Strategic Plan. The Advertised Budget Plan includes a three-cent increase in the Real Estate Tax Rate and a new 4% Admissions Tax.

The proposed General Fund budget is $4.63 billion, a $175.87 million (or 3.95%) increase over the FY 2020 Adopted Budget. Including other appropriated funds such as federal and state grants, the total proposed budget is $8.83 billion.

Highlights of the podcast include Hill discussing:

On his proposed budget …

“As county executive of Fairfax County, I am tasked with providing a board a starting point. And I’ve listened and the team has listened to the board priorities throughout the year. And then we figure out one, how much of it we can absolutely afford within our base. And if we have to go outside of our base, it will take us X amount to do it all. So I basically give them a budget that has all the ingredients to make the meal. The question is what are we going to pull out of those ingredients that we can still make our meal and that’s pretty a simplistic way of saying it. So I presented the budget with opportunity for affordable housing, opportunities for the environment, opportunities for early childhood, fully compensated employees, compensated the schools fully. That was the menu.”

On the proposed tax rate …

“Obviously it’s painful for a county executive ever to propose increasing the rate. I am looking at the things that our board has stated that are very important to the community. Again, schools, affordable housing, environment, early childhood, those are things that are very important to this Board of Supervisors. So trying to put the pieces in place to ensure that those important things are within the budget.”

On the proposed admissions tax …

“If you come to a movie, or an event at, say George Mason, there’s 4% added to the ticket price. And the tax comes back to the county where we would be able to predominantly fund like Arts Fairfax, Visit Fairfax, the symphony orchestra…” That tax at 4% also will allow us to increase and enhance our library hours. We want to bolster the arts tourism industry within Fairfax County. Similarly, we want to also look for opportunities for sports tourism, which potentially could get a certain admission tax depending on the event. So we’re really trying to draw some revenue because you know, we’re a Dillon Rule state. The property tax and admissions tax — those are the two basically component pieces I have that allow us to bring revenue into the county.”

Listen to past episodes of “Connect with County Leaders.” For other Fairfax County podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts, and for additional audio content, tune in to Fairfax County Government Radio at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/radio.

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