- Maintains one-cent real estate tax reduction
- Funded largely by hiring slowdown and elimination of proposed positions
- Reflects concern over higher employee expenses for health care
The following is a statement from Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette.
These are difficult economic times. In finalizing the FY 2015 Budget, the County Board is working hard to balance a number of goals, including giving some relief to homeowners who have seen their assessments rise, limiting the growth of the County budget, funding school growth and maintaining our core services and existing infrastructure.
In order to achieve these goals, we have had to make some difficult decisions. On Wednesday, we had announced that the consensus among Board Members was to provide all employees with a one percent cost-of-living adjustment and a $500 post-tax bonus rather than the step increase that the County Manager included in her FY 2015 Proposed Budget.
Over the last 36 hours, with the support of all County Board Members, I have worked with the County Manager to identify budget adjustments that will allow inclusion of merit step increases on Tuesday, April 22, when the FY 2015 Budget is adopted. We were able to do this — while maintaining the one-cent reduction in the tax rate — primarily through a hiring slowdown and the elimination of several new proposed positions.
County Board members have a better understanding of employees' concerns about projected increases in employee expenses for health care, as well as frustration with the lack of notice that compensation changes were under consideration by the Board.
We know that for several years now, County employees have been asked to do more with less as we continue to deal with our uncertain economy.
While we are fortunate that Arlington has not suffered grave effects from the downturn, we still face significant challenges in meeting the needs of our growing community, while providing tax relief to our residents and businesses. I believe the budget we will adopt on Tuesday strikes a sustainable balance between those pressures AND continues our commitment to providing a competitive compensation package so that Arlington remains a great place to work.
We greatly value our County's employees and thank them for all they do to ensure our community's success.