Column: Looking Ahead to Critical Budget Process

Column: Looking Ahead to Critical Budget Process

The grassroots “Invest in Fairfax” coalition of community members, local families, and essential workers call on the Board to engage the public in the budget process and to invest in vital county services. Fully two years into the pandemic, it’s critical that our budget reflects the values, priorities and urgent needs of our diverse community.

“We are now marking the second year of a pandemic we have not seen in 100 years. Local public services are more important than ever,” said David Edelman, Chair of the Invest in Fairfax coalition. “We need to invest in our schools to address interrupted learning. We need to invest in public health and mental health services to help residents deal with this health crisis; to name only a few priorities. Our investments and budget should reflect these needs.”

“The Fairfax League of Women Voters understands that the emergence from the Covid pandemic and the economic changes that have resulted place multiple pressures on the county as the budget planning process goes forward.  The Highest priority is the adjustment of compensation to those county employees who have borne the brunt of our service needs during the pandemic including our schools, our public health department and other public servants,” said Anu Sahai, Co-President of the Fairfax League of Women Voters. “As an organization committed to free and fair elections, we note that election reforms and increased public demands have placed a significant increase on the needs of the Board of Elections for staffing, maintenance, and capital management.  The price of fair elections has gone up and we need to budget accordingly.”

“Fairfax County deserves a budget which invests in good, safe jobs for all workers, and quality public services for all working families,” said Tammie Wondong, SEIU Virginia 512 Fairfax President and a 30+ year county employee. “Frontline workers throughout our community need affordable health care, need to keep up with the cost of living, and need safe working conditions. That’s why county employees are coming together in SEIU to work with county leadership on this year’s budget and at the bargaining table for future budgets. Together we will ensure that every working family can thrive.”

"The Fairfax Education Association stands with the Invest in Fairfax coalition in asking this board to ensure safety and prudence remain at the forefront of every action,” said Kimberly Adams, President of the Fairfax Education Association. “This budget should continue to reflect our employees' hard work to keep everyone healthy as we maintain the world class services our community depends on, especially for our youngest as well as our most vulnerable residents. We expect this budget to carry the message that we are emerging with renewed strength and forged resilience for the anticipated path ahead."

 “The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers is united with the Invest in Fairfax coalition in its request of the board to continue to keep safety and best practices as a priority,” said Tina Williams, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers President. “We believe the FY23 budget should continue to support all county employees' unprecedented efforts to keep our community safe and healthy.  We require a budget that allows us to provide the world class services which makes our county a great place to live, work and raise a family. We urge the Board of Supervisors to fully fund the FCPS budget request. The FCPS FY23 proposed budget includes a focus on compensation to attract and retain a premier workforce as well as funding to address critical staffing needs in special education and ESOL.  The FCFT strongly encourages this partnership between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board to fully-fund our school system so that we can provide the world-class education our students deserve and families expect."

Invest in Fairfax Coalition members will continue to mobilize to speak out during the budget process at Supervisors’ town halls, at public budget hearings, and during Board meetings. 

The county executive’s budget proposal is the first of many steps in finalizing the county budget. Click here to see the full budget timeline

Though the County Executive writes the first draft of the budget, the Board of Supervisors is responsible for changing and finalizing the county budget. On March 8, the Board of Supervisors will authorize the proposed real estate tax rate for FY 2023. Throughout March, the Board will hold budget committee meetings and town halls. The Board will hold public budget hearings April 12-14. On April 26, the budget committee will “mark up” or make changes to the proposed budget. The Board of Supervisors will adopt the budget on May 10, and the School Board will adopt their budget on May 26. The FY 2023 budget begins July 1, 2022