The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has proposed a budget for fiscal 2012 that contains $20 million in tax reductions.
Board Chairman Sharon Bulova says the spending blueprint government “continues to improve efficiency and streamline the delivery of critical services.” She points out that the ratio of positions per 1,000 residents is currently 11.34 — a 17% decrease from 20 years ago.
The budget, Bulova says, lowers the real estate tax rate for all Fairfax County homeowners. “Since our first budget as a Board in Fiscal Year 2009,” according to the chairman, “we have lowered the average homeownerâ€™s tax bill — even with the addition of the Stormwater Utility Fee. ”
Highlights of the mark-up package discussed at a budget committee meeting last Friday include:
- A tax rate of $1.07, a decrease of 2 cents from the advertised rate of $1.09, which essentially holds steady the average taxpayerâ€™s bill.
- Additional flexibility identified to reduce the tax rate; $4.7 million resulting from the FY 2011 third quarter review, $350,000 from the county executiveâ€™s â€œAdd-On Package,â€ and $4 million identified by the Auditor to the Board.
- $2.3 million included in the county executiveâ€™s budget for information technology communication enhancement and for renovations to a fourth courtroom in the Jennings Building is deferred.
- Reduction of the personal property tax rate to $0.01 per $100 of assessed value for one vehicle for fully disabled veterans. This is in addition to the real estate tax exemption on the primary residents of fully disabled veterans and their spouse as included in the county executiveâ€™s Add On Proposal. The cost for both of these tax reductions is $3.6 million.
- A Reserve of $2.3 million is set aside as a hedge against potential State and Federal reductions.
The freeze on all county employee compensation that has been effect during the past two fiscal years continues. But, in the proposed budget, the County Executive has been instructed to analyze the countyâ€™s fiscal condition at the end of FY 2011 and — based on the results — to find funding to provide a pay raise of 1.12% to take effect in mid-October.
The total county transfer to support School Operating and Debt Service is $1.77 billion or 52.5 percent of total county disbursements. In its guidance on the budget, the board said it supports the School Board’s efforts to implement full-day kindergarten (FDK) fully within existing school resources in FY 2012.
To assist the School Board with funding and reprioritizing its resources to accomplish FDK countywide, the Board of Supervisors will provide $500,000 in savings from the elimination of kindergarten SACC, which is no longer necessary with FDK; additional cable funding in the amount of $641,904; and the added flexibility of $1.9 million that would have reverted to the county for existing budget requirements.
The supervisors also increased the school bond sale program to $155 million per year (or $125 million in increased capacity over the five-year Capital Improvement Program period), and it has directed staff to work with the school system to identify short-term financing alternatives for energy-related improvements to accelerate construction projects.
Additional details of the Mark-up Package and Guidelines can be found here.
Formal adoption of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget is scheduled for April 26.