This summer, Long ordered the implementation of a multi-year budget process (the county will still adopt budgets annually) to bolster long-term planning and to discourage measures that make following years harder, such as the use of one-time funding to fill holes.
The board of supervisors will hold budget committee meetings and public hearings on Long’s proposed budget in March and April. Supervisors will approve a final budget April 30.
Local impact of sequestration
The governor’s proposal is an outgrowth of the 2012 Connecticut school massacre.
Legal teams for Herring, who’s ahead by 165 votes, and Republican stay busy ahead of next week’s recount.
At annual Advance retreat, some clamored for a change of direction while others vowed to stand pat.
One key question will be funding for Fairfax County Public Schools, which are facing record enrollment and need to add teachers. About 70 percent of the school system’s budget comes directly from a county allotment that will be decided along with the county’s spending plan. School Superintendent Jack D. Dale has asked for roughly $92 million more than last year — a 5.5 percent increase — but even he has acknowledged that his request probably won’t be met.
This fiscal year, the county’s total approved budget is about $6.5 billion. Of that, $3.5 billion is general funding spending, and a little more than half — $1.8 billion — went to schools.
Since 2009, county general fund spending has increased relatively little — about 1.4 percent annually.
Bulova said schools, public safety and human services will remain among the board’s top priorities, but a lot also will be decided by what supervisors hear from the public in the coming months. She said the county’s approach to budget time has always been intensive and inclusive, and she hopes people will take advantage of opportunities to weigh in. “This is the most important thing we do all year,” she said.
One bright spot county officials have highlighted: Metro’s new Silver Line and redevelopment in Tysons Corner, Reston, Springfield and Merrifield will help boost Fairfax’s economy and tax base. But the benefits probably won’t be realized until at least 2016.
Meantime, Long said his goal is to keep the county afloat without cutting so deeply that its future success is compromised. Drastic spending reductions for schools, transportation and other infrastructure could damage the county’s reputation as a place where businesses want to locate — and that’s the last thing Fairfax wants to lose, Long said.
“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “We have to make sure that our product remains strong.”