Special Budget Byline from Chairman Sharon Bulova

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova


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                     April 25, 2017

At our Board's Budget Mark-up session a year ago, I described the FY 2017 Budget as "A Booster Shot."  By increasing the real estate tax rate by 4 cents, from $1.09 to $1.13, we were able to catch up on many of our community's needs.  We also made it clear, however, that another increase of that size was not sustainable. 
In Virginia, counties are given very few revenue tools to pay for services, including schools, public safety, human services, transportation, libraries, parks, public works, and environmental protection.  About 80% of our revenue comes from property taxes (real estate and personal property).  Other revenues are either capped or controlled by the General Assembly.  An attempt to expand and diversify County revenue failed last year when voters rejected a meals tax referendum.  Had the referendum been successful, our budget adoption this year would have been very different from what Supervisor McKay is about to move. 
Calendar year 2017 marks almost a decade since the Great Recession first caused property values to plummet.  Since then, values have increased annually only modestly, if at all.  This year, the average sales price of homes increased by only 1%.  The Advertised Budget that we adjusted is built on an increase in total revenue of just 1.9%.  It is balanced in part with $13 million in savings, reductions, and efficiencies.
I appreciate the strategy Budget Chair Jeff McKay has used to construct the Mark-up Package we are about to consider.  Very few changes have been made to the County Executive's Advertised Budget.  Thanks to some Third Quarter and Add-On savings and adjustments we are able invest a bit more in some of this Board's highest priorities.  By maintaining the advertised ratio of Schools as a percentage of the budget at 52.8%:
  • We are able to further increase the Operating Transfer to the Schools by $1.7 million.  This is a total County increase to the Schools of 2.49% including Operating, Debt Service, and Capital.
  • We are able to add funding for Diversion First, as well and to restore some of the reductions we received testimony about during our three days of public hearings.  With these adjustments, County disbursements also are increased 2.49% in this budget.
The Budget Guidance package is a critical template for moving forward on issues such as collaboration with the School Board, employee pay, retirement benefits, public safety compensation and staffing and the future of Metro Funding.


Sharon Bulova
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Board of Supervisors Marks Up Advertised Budget 

April 25, 2017 - Today, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors marked up the FY2018 Advertised Budget to increase funding for schools and support the ongoing efforts of Diversion First. The Board of Supervisors will vote to formally adopt the budget on May 2, 2017.

"Very few changes have been made to the County Executive's Advertised Budget," Chairman Sharon Bulova said. "The real estate tax rate will stay the same at $1.13 per $100 of assessed value to ensure Fairfax County continues to be an affordable place to live for seniors and families. This budget is responsible and balanced and includes $13 million in savings, reductions and efficiencies."
For the past number of years, Fairfax County has continued to increase the School Transfer despite challenging economic circumstances facing many area businesses and residents. This year, Fairfax County Public Schools will receive $2.17 billion through the School Transfer, which represents 52.8% of the County's General Fund Budget and a 2.49% increase ($52.7 million) over FY2017. The Fairfax County School Board has the authority to allocate those funds toward line-item priorities and programs within Fairfax County Public Schools.
This budget directs nearly $2 million in new funding to support the Diversion First program in its second year, which helps divert individuals with mental illness from jail into mental health treatment. "In 2016, 375 people were diverted from potential incarceration, and I am proud to continue supporting this effective public safety and human services initiative," Chairman Bulova said.  
Looking ahead, the FY2019 budget will pose new challenges, including potential federal cut backs and sequestration in areas such as housing, human services and the environment. Metro is anticipated to require a significant increase in funding from local jurisdictions to promote safe and reliable service delivery. As always, Fairfax County will remain vigilant to any future changes that may impact the local budget in the upcoming fiscal year.
You can receive updates from Chairman Sharon Bulova through her monthly Bulova Byline, as well as frequent updates posted to Facebook and Twitter. Also, you can follow Fairfax County Government on social media and find timely local news on Fairfax County's NewsCenter.
More Information:
VIDEO:  How Our Budget is Built in Fairfax County
How Our Budget is Built in Fairfax County