Concerned about a potential shortfall of nearly $18 million in its FY 21 budget, the Fairfax City Council took decisive action during its Jan. 5 quarterly budget review. At the urging of City Manager Rob Stalzer, it slashed its capital and operating budgets and placed $7.9 million of budgeted expenses on hold.
Now, though, Fairfax’s financial picture has gotten brighter, and it’s been able to restore some $1.4 million of those previously frozen items into its current, General Fund expenditure budget. The Council did so during its meeting last Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Factors contributing to the City’s rosier-than-expected economic situation included additional meals-tax revenue coming from Fairfax’s grocery stores, plus strong sales-tax revenue from both grocery and hardware stores, as well as a continued upward trend in the residential real estate market.
Indeed, according to Chief Financial Officer Dave Hodgkins, the City ended 2020 with a balanced budget and a slight surplus. And FY 2021 is currently projected to end with a $2.4 million surplus. So restoring the $1.4 million in reserved expenditures to the current budget will still leave Fairfax with about a $1 million surplus.
So Stalzer was able to return to the Council last week and request the reinstatement of $1,462,500 of items in the FY 21 General Fund expenditure budget that had been held in reserve. Their categories and dollar amounts restored are as follows:
Hiring Freeze ($225,000 restored of $450,000 in reserve), Temporary Employees ($175,000 of $350,000 in reserve), Overtime ($287,500 of $575,000 in reserve), Suspending Two Holidays ($70,000 of $70,000 in reserve), Furloughs/Layoffs ($455,000 of $455,000 in reserve) and Small Area Plans ($250,000 of $500,000 in reserve).
Following Stalzer’s presentation, Councilwoman Janice Miller made a motion to approve his request and Councilman Jon Stehle seconded it. The Council then approved it unanimously.