Proposed Fairfax County Budget Hit All the Right Notes

During today's [April 24] Board of Supervisors Meeting, the Board marked up the FY2019 Advertised Budget by a vote of 8-2. Formal adoption of the budget will take place on May 1. I would like to share with you my remarks prior to our vote this morning:

The process for adopting the County Budget every year is all about community engagement. Fiscal Year 2019 is no exception, with Budget Forums and Town Hall Meetings hosted in each of our nine Districts, Budget Committee meetings (which included our partners on the School Board), and three days of public hearings on the Advertised Budget earlier this month. Since February, our offices have received hundreds, if not thousands, of letters, e-mail messages, phone calls and personal visits from our constituents.

The Budget "mood" this year was harmonic, thanks to an Advertised Budget that I believe hit all of the right notes.

The Budget that we are about to "Mark-Up," or amend, is based on a tax rate of $1.15. The package:

  • Fully funds the School Board's request, bringing teachers' salaries into competitive alignment with our sister jurisdictions in the region;

  • Overall support for our school system is increased by $91.49 million or 4.22 percent over Fiscal Year 2018, with 52.8 percent of our General Fund Budget going to schools;

  • Fully funds compensation for our County employees with a 2.25 percent Market Rate Adjustment, Performance, Merit and Longevity increases;

  • Includes funding for Fairfax First, Gang Prevention, the expansion of Diversion First and Opportunity Neighborhoods, additional slots for Early Childhood programs, and funding to address the Opioid Crisis;

  • Provides an increase in funding for Metro (pending a long-term solution), VRE and our Connector Bus System.

While this Mark-Up package includes a 2 cent increase in the real estate tax rate, an increase of $241 on the average annual tax bill, I believe the additional revenue is an important investment needed to shore up the foundation on which our quality of life rests.

I want to thank Budget Committee Chairman Jeff McKay for his excellent work bringing this Mark-Up Package to the Board today, along with Budget Guidance that addresses issues discussed during budget deliberations with each of our colleagues. Adoption of a Budget every year requires the good faith collaboration of each member or our Board and I appreciate everyone's willingness to come together on a Budget process that moves Fairfax County forward.

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