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Funds for Employee Pay, Human Services, Libraries Increased in Budget Markup

The Board of Supervisors identified $24.8 million to fund more programs.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors identified $24.8 million that will fund county employee compensation, human services, longer library hours, and other programs during a Tuesday mark-up session of the county’s fiscal year 2013 budget.

The adjustments passed by a vote of 8-2. Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, on his first day back after recovering from , and Braddock District Supervisor John Cook voted against the $6.7 billion budget.

"Today, while not entirely out of the woods, we are beginning to see evidence of a recovery — a slow and sluggish recovery, but a recovery nonetheless," Chairman Sharon Bulova said. "Hopefully, we are beginning to see the dawn of a new day."

For the first time since 2009, full compensation adjustments have been restored to county employees. More than $16 million of the adjusted funding will go towards pay increases, including a 2.18 percent market rate adjustment (MRA) effective in July, merit increments and longevity steps for public safety employees, and a 2.5 percent performance-based increase in January for non-public safety merit employees.

The board also added $1.36 million to the budget for human services programs, including Access Fairfax, rent relief for the elderly and disabled, the adult dental program and Home Based Care.

The adjustment came after three consecutive days of budget hearings earlier this month, during which many emotional county residents who benefitted from the programs urged the board to increase funding. (See Patch's full coverage of the public hearings here.)

Additionally, the board established a $4.2 million reserve for the Community Services Board (CSB) and other human services to lessen the impact of state and federal reductions.

Money has also be added and reallocated for the county’s Housing Blueprint, another popular topic at this month’s budget hearings. The board identified $2 million for 200 new housing units and $1.3 million for the county’s portion of the Housing Blueprint Community Challenge.

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.

The board also increased 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.

The mark-up package shifted a half-cent of County Executive Anthony Griffin’s proposed one-cent increase in the stormwater fee over to the real estate tax rate. The decision results in a real estate tax rate increase to $1.075 per $100 of assessed value from the current $1.07. The stormwater service fee will also go up to 2 cents from 1.5.

By shifting the half-cent, the board frees up $9.9 million that would have otherwise gone to a fund that can only be used for water treatment.

Cook voted against the budget because of a lack of funding for transportation infrastructure, something he said the county desperately needed. “We must be mindful of the tax burden on our residents, and we must make infrastructure, and especially our roads, a significantly higher priority,” he said in a statement read before the board.

Herrity opposed the budget because he didn’t think it took into account potential hundred million dollar shortfalls that Griffin had indicated could occur in future budgets with the county’s current spending and revenue levels.

“We need to be preparing for our future, and this budget fails to do that, in my opinion,” he said.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay supported the budget. ““The budget we have before us today is balanced, it’s fair to the taxpayers and to the good employees that run this county on a day-to-day basis, and it’s one that I’m proud to support,” he said.

Although the budget restored money to many services and programs, the board maintained the 4.5 percent transfer increase to Fairfax County Public Schools. The school board had requested a 5 percent transfer increase during budget hearings. When combined with county support for school debt services, the FCPS budget makes up 52 percent of the county's general fund disbursements. 

Other highlights of the mark-up package include:

  • An increase of $100,000 for the arts, which includes funding for the Arts Council, the Fairfax Symphony and an educational program at Wolftrap.
  • An increase of about $461,000 to maintain six public safety employees who staff the HAZMAT Support Unit.
  • An increase of $83,000 to continue funding the police department’s cadet program.

Today was at work. Griffin is retiring after decades of service to Fairfax County and received a standing ovation from the auditorium during today's session. , another longtime Fairfax County official, is replacing Griffin as county executive.

The budget will be formally adopted during a Board of Supervisors meeting on May 1.

Cathy Hosek April 25, 2012 at 12:10 PM
So happy to hear some of the library hours are being returned!
BurkePatriot April 25, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Business is booming.Revenue is up and we all have seen increases in our pay. Since 97% of all business in the county are small businesses this fantastic. I'm sorry. I meant to say the county government is doing well. The Supervisors who voted to confiscate more of our hard earned property knowing that in reality business is down in the private sector and cost of living is up must be removed from their positions. They live in fantasy land in their narrow minds. These people have a mental illness. They can't comprehend reality. This illness is called liberalism. A few people beg and moun and they believe that the majority believe in the same thing? These people are crazy and we are as well for feeding parasitism like this. Elections have consequences so please get off your back sides and vote these people out who voted for the confiscation of your hard earned property. Property rights is in proportion to your liberty. Stand up for freedom from these legalized thieves.VOTE! Pay increase for county government? Amazing! In Liberty,
Sally Spangler April 25, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This fortuitous re-establishment of the Marine Patrol has come by way of increasing taxes on the residents of Fairfax County, whether they have an increase in their income or not. To add to the above, the Board of Supervisors have other jobs. They are paid royally by the County for their services - certainly more than the original $4,000 or so of the now distant past of the late 1950's and 1960's. I remember the complaint of one board member from back then. If you have received a statement of the proposed Real Estate Tax - it is about the same as last year. However, if you read the Washington Post, Metro Section in the bottom left corner, you will find that the Storm Water Tax has been increased. Nothing was said about the insects that destroy our trees. So, when you get your bill for the year, you will find the Storm Water and Insect (pest) abatement tax added and you are required to pay all three taxes as one lump cost to be paid either in two installments or one payment. If like me, you will probably pay half in July and the other half in about October. Happy tax day to you all!
Jody April 25, 2012 at 03:54 PM
The market only works if prices and wages can rise and FALL. The county needs to overhaul all its many agencies and programs, and all the regulatory hoops it makes its citizens jump through. The folks in the ivory tower (Taj Mahal) are getting pay/benefits in line with federal government, union, & federal-contractor pay/benefits. Why? We need to elect local government officials willing to treat our tax money more preciously and then elect the same type of representation to national office to tackle the pay/benefits of those three categories of over-privileged people that abound in our area. I would be willing to spend more in taxes for an ICE cooperation program or to support an opting out of the No Child Left Behind testing madness and other ways that could actually save us money and save our schools and teachers.

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