Responding to Proposition 13-style pressure from residents, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week established a citizen commission to recommend by next spring how the county and should raise and spend its money and run county operations.
THe 48-member commission, made up of four committees, will study current county management and spending practices during the next several months. The supervisors expect the commission's recommendations by the time they act on next year's budget in April.
"This commission could provide the first real look at the county budget," said Supervisor Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield) of the citizen group that the supervisors approved Monday by a 6-0 vote.
The commission is intended to advise the supervisors on what services the county needs most, how management of county operations needs improvement and how funds can be raised without increasing property taxes.
The board also appointed members of the commission Monday. They include professionals in management and budgeting , busineessmen and representatives from the supervisors magesterial districts, civic associations and school organizations.
County Executive Leonard Whorton recommended in July to establish the body, called the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, noting that "for the past two or three years there have been noticeable signs of increasing taxpayer resistance to the rising cost of government . . . illustrated dramatically by the passage of proposition 13 in California."
The supervisors broadened the responsibilities of the commission Monday by requiring that two of the commission's four committees study the spending and management of all county agencies - whether the agencis serve internal functions, such as personel recruitment, or directly provide services to residents, such as the Department of Public Works.
WHorton earlier had recommended that the committee studying "community priorities" limit itself to studying only programs and agencies providing direct services to residents and that the committee on management only study the practices of agencies providing services for staff functions.
However, the board decision to broaden the purview of the two committees pleased supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) who said, "Otherwise, the work of the commission would have been too fragmented, with nobody being able to see the whole picture."
The commission also includes a tax and revenue committee that will study sources of county income, such as real estate taxes, and ways to develop other sources of income.
Recommendations by the three committees will go to a steering committee, whcih will compile the work of other committees and present a final report to the supervisors by March 2.