In a session that was a stark contrast to the previously volatile public meetings about the budget, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the mark up to the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget by a vote of 7-3. Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, Braddock District Supervisor John Cook and Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey voted against the budget.
Prior to the vote, Board Chairman Sharon Bulova said, “We are a collective board. The budget is not the product of any one person. We all need to come together in order to have a funding plan for county services.”
In their remarks about the budget, county supervisors emphasized three points: 1) the relative civility of the debate among each other. 2) The efforts of Bulova in working to achieve a balanced budget. 3) The fact that the county is not out of the woods as far as the fiscal crisis is concerned.
Among the highlights of the mark up:
- A decrease of the tax rate from the advertised rate of $1.09 to $1.07 per $100 of property value. The FY 2011 rate was $1.07. Lowering the rate by two cents effectively eliminated the $30 million budget surplus that was in the advertised rate when it was first announced along with a $5 million surplus from quarter three of FY 2011.
- The creation of thirty-nine positions throughout the county. And, effective in October, “market adjustments” for county employees that will increase their salaries by approximately 1.12 percent. County employees had seen their salaries frozen for the last two fiscal years.
- Although the Board of Supervisors does not explicitly fund the budget for county schools it can help FCPS meet its priorities. In answering the overwhelming community support for Full Day Kindergarten (FDK), the county recognized savings of $500,000 in the School Age Child Care (SACC) program once FDK is implemented. Over $600,000 was made available in cable funding and nearly $2 million has been identified in the School Nurse Health Program. This money would have been sent by FCPS to the County’s Health Department. Instead, it can be put towards implementing FDK.
A county-wide FDK was the issue that received the most attention during the public hearing of the budget and those wishes have been met.
“(FCPS) asked us to meet them halfway on Full Day Kindergarten and we have,” Herrity told Patch.
Lee District supervisor Jeff McKay said, “We gave the school board a clear path as to how they can achieve the equity of full day kindergarten.”
Final approval of the budget will take place on April 26.