Herrity: First Look at the County’s 2022 Budget

Pat Herrity | The Herrity Report

At the February 23rd Board meeting, the County Executive presented the Advertised Budget for FY2022. While this budget includes a decrease of one penny in the tax rate, it results in an overall increase of 3.4 percent for the average homeowner because of the rise in assessment values. As a taxpayer, I would have hoped for at least a flat tax bill from my government during a pandemic. Taxes for the average homeowner have increased 45 percent over the last ten years. A budget that raises taxes an additional 3.4 percent this year is not only unsustainable, but unacceptable in light of the pandemic and the challenges our community is facing.

Instead of focusing on the pandemic response and providing tax relief to our residents, this budget includes staffing new programs and facilities. The Board needs to be doing what our residents are having to do and figure out ways to work within our means.

There are some simple steps we could start with, including a request that I made but could not get a second for last year, to review new programs started in the last 10 years (when taxes increased 45 percent) for their effectiveness and to see if they are still a priority. There are significant new positions for new county facilities that we should consider deferring the opening of. Additionally, we should not be expanding the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office with 15 new positions at a cost of over $2.5M given he has stopped prosecuting misdemeanors and many felony cases resulting in a caseload decrease from the previous Commonwealth’s Attorney.

My annual budget town hall will be Wednesday, March 31st at 7 p.m. on Channel 16 with the County Executive. I encourage you to mark your calendars and plan to participate by calling in or submitting questions to springfieldbos@fairfaxcounty.gov . I will be providing more information about the town hall as we get closer.

For more information on the budget and to see the budget timeline, I encourage you to visit the county’s budget webpage.

Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) is a member of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. This commentary was excerpted from the March 4, 2021 edition of The Herrity Report.

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