The Board of Supervisors marked up the proposed budget Tuesday, April 21, by increasing school funding, adding key economic growth positions and restoring money to suggested cuts to "critical" human service programs Tuesday morning, April 21, according to its Chairman Sharon Bulova.
The board is scheduled to formally adopt the FY 2016 Budget next Tuesday, April 28.
See the Mark-up Package at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dmb/
“This is a responsible budget that responds to the needs of our community and takes into account the feedback we received during public hearings, town hall meetings, letters, emails and phone calls from our constituents,” Bulova said.
More than 200 people testified and the board listened to more than 14 hours of testimony from the public between April 7-9.
"Speakers during our three days of public hearings adopted as their theme a call to invest in Fairfax and that is what this mark-up package seeks to do," said Bulova.
The marked-up budget maintains the current tax rate at $1.09, implements a new compensation plan for county employees with an average increase of approximately 3.6 percent (including a “market rate adjustment of 1.1 percent), comes close to fully funding the School Board’s transfer request, and restores a number of Human Services reductions proposed in the original advertised budget, Bulova said.
Because of an increase in property assessments, the average homeowner will pay $185 more in property taxes, even though the tax rate will not increase.
Kimberly Adams, president of the Fairfax Education Association, responded immediately.
“FEA has rallied both in Fairfax and in Richmond to tell elected officials that the community wants greater investment in our community and our schools," said Adams. "Here in Fairfax, the Board of Supervisors has tied their own hands, apologized for this being an election year, and then said they ‘wish they could do more.' Our schools are not funded by wishes; they are funded by a dedication to actually invest in Fairfax before more damage is done to our community.”
Three supervisors voted against the marked-up package, including Pat Herrity (R), Michael Frey (R), and Linda Smyth (D).
"I am disappointed that not only did the board raise our citizens’ taxes yet again, but the board majority failed to even make the easy decisions to even discuss reducing spending to address the $100 million shortfall we are facing in FY 2017," said Herrity. "Under this board’s watch our homeowners have seen their tax bills go up by 16 percent in three years, our commercial vacancy rate has spiked to over 16 percent, ... but the board thought they deserved a pay raise for themselves," said Herrity.
The revised budget restores the most critical Human Services reductions in the Advertised Budget, including Healthy Families, Parenting Education "Good Touch, Bad Touch" programs, mental health services in jail, and detox diversion positions. It also restores the Enforcement of the Grass Ordinance, Bulova said.
"The Advertised Budget as amended by these actions results in some changes that will make some folks happy, some relieved, and some disappointed," said Bulova.
"It is, however, a responsible package that: maintains our current tax rate at $1.09.”
The marked up budget comes close to fully funding the School Board’s request with an increase of over $66 million (including funding for School Debt Service) over last year, Bulova said.