Fairfax County budget still tight, but revenues are looking up

Deltek Associate Research Analyst Lindsay Clifton reports.

Fairfax County’s FY 2012 balanced budget weighs in at $6.1 billion with the county turning a corner to produce a budget surplus. The budget will keep spending to a bare minimum by funding all necessary operational requirements and priorities and not expanding any current programs. As Fairfax County and the rest of the nation climb out of the budget gaps of the last several years, Fairfax County’s budget shows no tax rate increase for residents, and only minimal reductions. This is dissimilar to FY 2010 and FY 2011; there are no major program eliminations in the FY 2012 budget. The county is balancing the budget by not providing any funds for service expansion or pay increases to employees, and giving only what is necessary to support the county’s infrastructure requirements.

Figure 1 County budget comparisons

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Fairfax County’s budget reductions compare well with similar-sized communities. Total revenue indicates a small increase each year since 2010 and shows limited revenue growth with an incremental increase year-by-year. The biggest sources of revenue ($2.7 billion, or 42.2 percent) by far are general property taxes (real estate and personal property). The values of residential real estate increases 2.34 percent from FY 2011 to FY 2012, compared to the 5.56 percent decrease in FY 2011. The non-residential properties increases 3.73 percent in FY 2012, compared to an 18.2 percent decrease in FY 2011. These numbers show real estate is stabilizing, and Fairfax County government can be cautiously optimistic about revenue growth from real estate in the coming years.

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