Fairfax Co. supervisors to vote on budget that may raise taxes, county employee pay

May 9, 2023


By John Gonzalez

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (7News) — It is a critical day in Fairfax County, Virginia as the FY2024 budget will be voted on. And with that budget, county supervisors are expected to boost millions of dollars of funding for affordable housing, libraries and parks.

One of the biggest adjustments, the board increased funding for affordable housing by $8 million. All indications are that $5 million will be set aside for park maintenance — with the combined $7 million coming out of the affordable housing funds and $1.7 million to improve six fields at Wakefield Park and $300,000 to upgrade Lake Accotink Park’s playground, which has been closed due to safety issues.

Perhaps the biggest headline coming out of Tuesday’s vote will be a hefty pay increase for county employees. After outrage from residents that Fairfax County supervisors gave themselves a 30-40% raise, supervisors decided to give county workers a bigger raise than what was originally proposed.

County workers are now set to get a 5.4% cost of living raise, which is an increase from the county executive’s proposed 2% raise.

Fairfax County Public Schools is set to get $3.5 billion from the board, which is a 7.6% increase from the previous year. The board of supervisors is also set to approve assessing vehicles at 90% of their market value for the tax year 2023.

“Taxes are still going up 5.7%,” said Herrity. “That’s for your average homeowner, but remember, renters pay that because if the cost goes up to the person you’re renting from, they’re going to pass that cost on through rent,” said Supervisor Pat Herrity.

Local Economy:

  • The local economic recovery continued in 2022
  • In Northern Virginia, the number of jobs as of December 2022 increased by 30,700 or 2.0% compared to last December and now exceeds its pre-pandemic level of 2019
  • Some sectors have still not fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic:
  • Number of Leisure and Hospitality jobs is still down by 6.5% compared to 2019
  • Number of Professional and Business Services jobs is up by 3.3% compared to 2019
  • In Fairfax County, the December 2022 unemployment rate was 2.2%, compared to last December’s unemployment rate of 2.3%
  • Office vacancy rates in the County increased
  • The amount of empty office space increased to 21.3 million sq. ft.
  • Growth in the County’s FY 2024 real estate tax base of 6.59% was somewhat slower than last year
  • Residential real estate strongly increased in value due to low interest rates coupled with low inventory
  • In the second half of the year, the residential real estate market decelerated due to rising mortgage rates that now exceed 6% for the first time in many years
  • Nonresidential real estate increased as well, but more modestly the number of Leisure and Hospitality jobs is still down by 6.5% compared to 2019

And no, it’s not all good news — county taxes are expected to jump 5.7% for your average homeowner.

Officers will also make more as they are set to get a 10% to 15% raise. The department is still short about 200 police officers.

“There’s obviously some good news in the budget. We took care of our employees giving them the full 5.44% cost of living increase,” said Herrity. “But the people who got left out of this were our taxpayers,” said Herrity.

FY 2024 Advertised Budget Highlights:

  • Revenue projections based on existing Real Estate Tax rate of $1.11 per $100 of assessed value Based on equalization, results in an increase in the average tax bill of just over $520
  • Provides funding to support recurring requests in the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget. Recommendation does not account for $12.7 million funding error by State
  • Includes funding for the County’s compensation program. 2.00% Market Rate Adjustment
  • Performance, Merit and Longevity Increases
  • Adjustments associated with Market Studies
  • Supports inflationary and contract rate adjustments and provides for limited, targeted investments for new facilities and other priorities
  • Includes no net new positions
  • Includes balance of $90 million for the Board’s consideration