Fairfax County releases proposed 2024 budget

March 3, 2023

Fairfax County Times

By Richard H. Hronik III

The Fairfax County Executive revealed the advertised fiscal year 2024 budget at a Board of Supervisors meeting Feb. 21.

This proposed budget assumes no change in the property tax rate, the personal property tax rate, or the McLean Community Center tax rate. It includes an enhanced tax relief program for the elderly and disabled, approved by the board last year, to include the new 75 percent tax relief bracket and tax deferral program.

Also included is a fully-funded recurring school operating request, as included in the superintendent’s proposed budget, compensation for county employees including performance, merit, and longevity increases, a 2% market rate adjustment, and benchmark adjustments. In addition, the proposed budget includes funding to address the impacts of inflation and funding for new facilities.

Revenue projections for this budget are partially based on the existing real estate tax of $1.11 per $100 of asserted value. However, recently released 2023 real estate assessments show an average residential property value increase of 6.97 percent. These increases in value would still result in increased property tax bills across Fairfax County.

“It is no surprise a tax increase on the average homeowner is still on the table with this Board’s unrestrained spending, a declining commercial real estate tax base, and the end of federal pandemic aid,” said Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. “Surrounding jurisdictions, not to mention prior Fairfax County Boards, have been doing what I have been proposing: looking at ways to cut spending and find efficiencies. This Board has refused and our residents, who are already suffering due to the pandemic and inflation, are paying for it.”

To offset lower-than-expected returns on county retirement pensions for police officers, and uniformed, and non-uniformed employees, the proposed budget includes additions to these pensions. Provisions for other limited, targeted investments are also included to address various needs across the county. All new positions are offset by reductions, with a net impact of no new positions.

Projected revenue growth also includes an increase of almost $2 million in emergency medical services transport fees. 

“This stands in stark contrast to what our state leaders accomplished last year and are trying to accomplish this year,” said Herrity. “Reducing tax burdens on residents and businesses.”

“We are deeply disappointed with the Fairfax County Executive for proposing a budget that undervalues the officers and employees within the Fairfax County Police Department,” said Steve Monahan, president of the Fairfax County Chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association. “This proposed budget will ultimately compromise the safety of our community…Officers within the Fairfax County Police Department feel like they are burning the candle at both ends. They are undervalued, overworked, unappreciated, and increasingly underpaid.”

In total, the advertised budget’s revenue proposals yielded $346 million of additional tax revenues. This leaves a balance of just more than $90 million to be used at the Board of Supervisors’ discretion. This would allow the board to vote for increased spending, slightly lower tax rates, or both.

The McLean Citizens Association and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will host a virtual public meeting on the proposed FY 2024 county budget on March 9 at 7 p.m. The meeting will feature Fairfax County budget director Phil Hagen who will present information on, and answer questions about, the proposed budget. Similarly, other county supervisors will hold town hall meetings for their districts. The county board of supervisors will hold public hearings on the FY 2024 budget from April 11 – 13. The FY 2024 budget will be adopted on May 9.