The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted Tuesday a fiscal year 2013 budget that raises taxes and fees to support funding for human services and other programs.
The budget adoption motions were approved in an 8-2 vote. Supervisors Pat Herrity (Springfield-R) and John Cook (Braddock-R) voted against the budget, maintaining their opposition from .
The budget raises the county real estate tax rate to 1.075 cents per $100 of assessed value, up a half-cent from the current 1.07 level. That half-cent was shifted from ’s proposed one-cent increase in the Stormwater Fee, which increases to 2 cents from 1.5.
The shift frees up nearly $10 million that would have gone to a fund used exclusively for water treatment.
“When we adopt our budget, we are investing in our community’s priorities,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said in a statement. “We shifted a half cent from the Stormwater Fee to the Real Estate Tax Rate in order to provide fiscal flexibility. With that flexibility in place, and with savings identified within the advertised version, the FY 2013 budget improves public safety, restores library hours, maintains critical human services and establishes a human services reserve, and restores pay adjustments for county employees.”
But in a statement released to constituents, Herrity chided the board for raising taxes during what he said were still tough economic times.
“I could not support this budget because it raises the tax rate at a time when our homeowners are still struggling,” Herrity said.
“Earlier this year the County Executive told the Board that based on current spending and revenue levels, we are facing a $100 million shortfall each year over the next 3-4 years. This budget does nothing to plan for that future.”
During last week’s markup, Cook voted against budget adjustments because the package lacked money for transportation infrastructure. He didn’t change that position during Tuesday’s vote.
“We must be mindful of the tax burden on our residents,” he said last week, “and we must make infrastructure, and especially our roads, a significantly higher priority.”
The remaining supervisors supported the budget, which gives county and public safety employees full compensation adjustments for the first time since 2009. The board found money for these adjustments after three days of March budget hearings, during which disgruntled employees demanded fair pay boosts.
Other highlights from the $6.7 billion fiscal year 2013 Fairfax County Budget include:
- The budget maintains the proposed 4.5 percent transfer increase to Fairfax County Public Schools, which was lower than the transfer increase the school board originally requested.
- $1.36 million for , including Access Fairfax, rent relief for the elderly and disabled, the adult dental program and Home Based Care.
- A $4.2 million reserve for the Community Services Board (CSB) and other human services to lessen the impact of state and federal reductions.
- An increase in the proposed $50 million bond referendum for the Fairfax County Park Authority to $75 million. County parks would receive $63 million and $12 million would go to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
- Regional libraries will be open for nine more hours weekly, and community libraries will be open for three more hours weekly, thanks to nearly $675,000 in increased funds.