April 4, 2019 

In This Issue:
Initial Thoughts on the FY2020 Budget: Election year budgets tend to be lean and this one is no exception. The real caution is the election year promises being made for the FY2021 budget that already has a projected $75M shortfall.

2019 Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs: After hosting two successful teen job fairs at Woodson High School and West Springfield High School, I'm excited to host the next two in my annual Teen Job Fair series at Chantilly and South County Secondary Schools this weekend. Please see below for more details.  
Other Upcoming Events : (See Below)
  • 04/08/19 - 2019 Northern Virginia Positive Aging and Wellness Fair
  • 04/08/19 - "Library Week" in Fairfax County
  • 04/11/19 - Fairfax County Government Job Fair
  • 04/13/19 - DPWES Springfield District Free Shredding Event
  • 04/27/19 - DEA Annual National Drug Takeback Day
Initial Thoughts on the FY2020 Budget
Election year budgets tend to be lean and this one is no exception. We need to be wary of the election year promises being made for the FY2021 budget that already has a projected $75M shortfall. The County Executive's budget was proposed balanced with a flat real estate tax rate of $1.15 per $100 of assessed value. However due to increases in home values the average tax bill will increase by about $150 or 2.6%. This continues a long unsustainable trend of tax increases in our county, as taxes have increased by 25% in the last 5 years.
Concerns with the FY 2020 Budget - While my biggest concern is with the promises being made in this year's budget guidance for next year's budget, I have a number of concerns with the current budget proposal. County staff is working on the answers to my questions on several of these concerns. They include:
  • A review of public safety overtime that I have requested the past two years - see my previous newsletter on this issue. I have asked for the same information I requested in FY2018 that showed a firefighter making $250,000 annually, including $150,000 of overtime pay. While much of public safety overtime is necessary, I have concerns with the ability of someone working that much overtime to perform at the level we expect from our firefighters.
  • This budget converts 53 health department grant positions to full time merit positions as the grants are expiring.
  • I fully support investment in our Diversion First efforts that focus on getting people mental health services instead of putting them in jail for nonviolent offenses. However, the program comes with promises of reduced jail expenses. To date we have not seen reductions in the jail budgets but did see an across the board salary increase of 3% funded in part with staff reductions.
  • As Chairman of the 50+ Committee, I am concerned that we have not increased our maximum tax relief asset eligibility limits for seniors and people with disabilities since 2006. I've asked that we consider an increase in those limits and fund it with some of the state budget savings.
  • In our schools, we need to put resources back into the classroom instead of on administrative costs, which is why I've asked for a comparison of actual administrator pay raises to actual teacher pay raises over the last year.
  • I also requested information on who performs the duties of the Chief Academic Officer now that the position no longer exists in our school system. The school system needs to return to a focus on academics.
  • Working with our breweries and the results of the study on our efforts to increase small manufacturers in the county, I am looking for ways to address our Machinery and Tools Tax that is three times as high as some of our surrounding jurisdictions and is hurting our ability to grow jobs in these industries. The numbers are small, but I believe the long-term impact is large.
  • When I joined the Board in 2007, employees could retire at age 50 with a full pension greater than our surrounding jurisdictions along with an unheard-of benefit - county paid social security from age 50 until they get federal social security payments.   I led two successful rounds of pension reform and although the changes made are not quite at the level I had hoped, we have eliminated the county paid social security and raised the retirement age to 55. This year I asked several questions concerning the administrative cost of our pension systems which seem high compared to other comparable plans.
  • Fairfax County's competitive jurisdictions have been addressing and making adjustments to their police pay due to the difficulty in attracting and retaining quality police officers in the current environment. Alexandria and most recently Prince William County have made changes to address these concerns. We are having issues recruiting candidates that can make it through our academy based on the high standards to which we appropriately hold our officers. I have asked for the status of the police pay study the Board requested last year. We need to continue to be able to say we are the safest jurisdiction of our size in the country and we will only do so if we attract high-caliber police officers.
County Executive Impact - I have been saying for years that we need to take a hard look at overtime expenditures, streamlining our zoning and permitting process to attract new businesses, competitive sourcing, addressing our high commercial vacancy rate, eliminating duplicative agencies, reducing our leased space footprint, privatizing, and prioritizing the many programs we offer to our residents. Despite having been with the County for a just over a year, our County Executive Bryan Hill has made great strides in many of these areas including consolidating agencies, reviewing county lease agreements, and streamlining the regulatory process. I think this year's flat rate budget is due in part to his leadership in these areas.
Perhaps his biggest contribution has been his efforts to focus the Board on setting strategy and priorities and reminding the Board we cannot fund everything. He has begun a county-wide strategic planning exercise. The budget comes down to this: The County is doing a lot of great things, but we need to choose which great things to do because at the end of the day the burden falls on taxpayers--which brings me to my real concern.
Built in Tax Increase for FY2021 - With this year's budget we will also approve budget guidance for next year's (FY2021) budget. It appears that this guidance will include many of the promises that have been made in budget committee meetings over the last several months without balancing them against the impacts to next year's budget. My biggest concerns are:
  • The published two-year budget includes a $75M shortfall before many of the items that are being discussed including the two below.
  • The Board is committing to another penny (also known as $23 million in expenditures) for the Penny for Affordable Housing fund. This was the fund that was used to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the county to buy condos and apartments for people making up to $120K per year before it was finally cut back.. While I support helping people that cannot help themselves - especially the elderly and disabled - rent controlled housing has proven not to provide long term answers to housing issues.
  • The county is working on its own version of the new green deal. Most of the proposals have been presented without mention of even the simplest fiscal impacts or pay back calculations, or the costs associated with additional staff needed to manage the initiatives, and a new joint School Board/BOS committee - the Joint Environmental Team (JET).  While I support efforts to save energy, I believe they need to be balanced with fiscal reality and our other priorities. They must also be prioritized so those that actually save money can be implemented first.
My real concern here is these commitments are being made now for next year without addressing the fiscal impact both to our taxpayers and to our other priorities like academics, public safety, parks, libraries, and teacher and employee compensation. I will be asking that the fiscal impact of the budget guidance be calculated and included in the estimated second year budget so the impact is transparent.
The Budget Process - Budget public hearings are next week. Far too often we hear from those that want to advocate for the great things they are doing, but we do not hear from the everyday taxpayers who are busy working two jobs to stay in Fairfax County, or are busy coaching our youth. Below is the information on the budget public hearings in the Board auditorium:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 4:00 p.m.
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Gov. Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Gov. Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Gov. Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

(703) 451-8873  

2019 Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs

Chantilly High School
 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
Friday, April 5, 2019

South County Secondary School 
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 6, 2019

Mount Vernon High School 
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27, 2019 


Springfield Nights

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
July 10, 2019
Randy Thompson Band

July 17, 2019 
The Reagan Years

July 24, 2019
The Woodshedders

July 31, 2019
The English Channel

August 7, 2019
The Colin Thompson Band

August 14, 2019
The Johnny Artis Band

Slow Down Signs

Our next batch of signs have arrived at our West Springfield Office!
Come by during office hours if you'd like one for your neighborhood.
*Limit 2 signs per individual

Exciting New Workshops at Friday/Saturday Teen Job Fairs:
There will be some exciting new workshops at this week's job fairs. On Friday at the Chantilly HS job fair from 11am-1pm, we will offer two workshops for students, including an overview of the tech field by the CEO of Intellectual Point and resume building with a career services specialist from George Mason University. The South County job fair, on Saturday from 10am-12pm, will have three workshops, including resume and cover letter building, interviewing do's and dont's by State Farm Insurance, and how to create a successful LinkedIn profile by Novastar Prep.  
Here is a link to register as an employer or student:
First jobs are a critical part of growing up. These job fairs give our teens the opportunity to speak with employers and give businesses an opportunity to connect with teens looking for jobs. Many teens ranging from freshmen to seniors have left the fair with actual jobs, internships, and volunteer positions. These events will focus on student job seekers (approximately ages 16 to 18) looking for full time employment, after-school employment, seasonal positions, internship opportunities, or volunteer experiences. They are open to all teens in Fairfax County looking for employment or interested in tips to build their resume. We ask that students go online to register.
This year we've had over 600 students participate in my first two fairs at Woodson and West Springfield. As I spoke with students at the fairs, many told me that the highlights of the fair were having their first experience talking face to face with employers and attending one or more workshops offered at the fair.
Businesses and organizations also have the opportunity to showcase their companies, brand their business in the local community, and advertise the positions they have available. There is no cost to participate. Businesses and organizations seeking to secure space at the job fair should click the link above to fill out the application form.
Many thanks to the Connection Newspapers, FCPS and the Fairfax County Chambers of Commerce and Government agencies and representatives that co-sponsor all of the job fairs with me. The schedule and the other individual co-sponsors are listed below:
Saturday, April 5, 2019
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Chantilly High School
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Pat Herrity, Supervisor Kathy Smith, Chantilly HS STEM Academy, and Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
Saturday, April 6, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
South County High School
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Pat Herrity, Supervisor Dan Storck, South Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, South County Federation, and South County High School
Saturday, April 27, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Mount Vernon High School
Co-sponsored by Supervisor Pat Herrity, Supervisor Dan Storck, Supervisor Jeff McKay, Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, and Mount Vernon High School


Other Upcoming Events

2019 NOVA Positive Aging and Wellness Fair - April 8
The 2019 Northern Virginia Positive Aging and Wellness Fair will be held on Monday, April 8, 8:45 am -4:00 pm at the Fairfax County Government Center. The event will provide useful information to educate and inspire adults to achieve a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle as they age. Highlights include workshops, exhibitors and Keynote Speaker Pat Collins, general assignment reporter for News4! The event i s FREE, and lunch is available for pre-purchase. 

Click here for more information and to register: www.positiveagingfair.comLimited transportation to and from the event is available.  The event is hosted by the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) and Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. (CFI), in collaboration with Fairfax County.  
"Library Week" in Fairfax County- April 8 - 14
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognized April 8-14 as Library Week in Fairfax County with a special proclamation during its March 20 meeting. Among other notable services, the proclamation lauded the public library for "supporting public safety, family services, mental and physical health, business development, information dissemination and child development and education." Join your fellow library lovers as they step back in time and remember the past 25 years at the following event:

25th Anniversary Jubilee: A Step Back in Time
Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 5:30 PM - 08:00 PM
Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043
Complete with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, music and more!

Funds raised at the Jubilee are used to help the library expand its reach to children and adults in every corner of our community. Attendees play a direct role in enhancing library programs and services, and gain exposure to the values of the library and its role in an educated, civilized society.

Fairfax County Government Job Fair - April 11 - 12
Don't miss this great chance to meet with several Fairfax County agencies to get more information on what working at Fairfax County Government is all about!

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - Friday, April 12, 2019
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA  22035

Conference Rooms and Reception Area (follow the signs from the main entrance). Public transit accessible, free parking onsite.

Representatives of SkillsSource and Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) will be on site to provide information and answer questions. Fairfax County employs over 12,000 people and offers a comprehensive and generous benefit program to its merit employees. Members of our Benefit and Retirement teams will be onsite to answer questions about our plans.
Free Document Shredding -  April 13

The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program will be sponsoring one secure document shredding event in each supervisory district per calendar year.  These events are only open to Fairfax County residents along with residents of the Towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. Documents from businesses will not be accepted.

Please Note:
Shredding events start at 7 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m.  All cars must be in line by 11 a.m.  These are drive-through events and residents will be asked to remain in their vehicles. For everyone's safety, you will not be able to stand by and watch your paper being shredded.
DEA National Drug Take Back Day - April 27
Spring cleaning is not limited to your home, garage or shed. The DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Unused or expired prescription medicines may be dropped off at all Fairfax County Police Stations on Take Back Day,  including my office at the West Springfield Government Center, 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield, VA 22152.
For more information and locations near you: