- $10-$13 million budget gap projected
- Assumes new state, regional source of funding for WMATA capital funding beyond sustainable growth
- Calls for long-term efficiencies proposals, service delivery improvements
The Arlington County Board on Tuesday, Nov. 28 directed the County Manager to propose a budget for Fiscal Year 2019 within the existing tax rate. The Board said that the budget should be balanced and reflect current economic conditions, while honoring the County’s vision.
The County expects to see moderate revenue growth, but the Board noted it will not be enough to meet budget pressures. A budget gap of $10-$13 million is projected for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018. The Board also noted that there is uncertainty regarding the impact of the state and federal budgets on the County, and that it is providing its guidance to County Manager Mark Schwartz while real estate assessments are still unknown.
“Arlington continues to feel budget pressures brought on both by increased funding needs for our schools and for Metro, and by normal increases in personnel and operating costs,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “We have already started a very public conversation with the community about priorities and values that will continue as the manager builds his budget and the Board works through what he proposes.”
The Board voted unanimously to approve the Budget guidance. Read the Board’s direction to the County Manager , (Item. No. 52 on the Agenda for the Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Recessed County Board Meeting). View the Budget Guidance.
Level funding for affordable housing
The Board directed the Manager to include a maintenance-of-effort level of funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, the County’s primary source of financing for affordable housing. AHIF funding in FY 2019 should be consistent with the $13.7 million the Manager included in his Proposed FY 2018 Budget, using one-time and ongoing funds with an effort to shift more of that funding into the ongoing base budget.
Long-term efficiencies, service delivery improvements
The Manager was further directed to introduce proposals for long-term efficiencies and improvements in service delivery that will continue beyond FY 2019.
New state, regional Metro funding assumed
Funding for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, should not exceed WMATA’s proposed three percent cap on annual increases to jurisdictional contributions for the operating budget, the Board said. The Board directed the Manager to assume that increases in WMATA capital funding beyond sustainable growth will come from a new state or regional source, because Arlington and other Northern Virginia jurisdictions cannot sustain the FY 2018 levels of capital contributions.
$15.6 million in new funding projected for Schools
The Manager should hew to the Revenue Sharing Principles and apply the County/School revenue allocation reflected in the FY 2018 budget, the Board said. Under the allocation formula, 53.4 percent of revenues will go to the County and 46.6 percent to Schools. Given projected tax rate and real estate assessment growth, a minimum of $15.6 million of projected new ongoing revenue should be available to APS for FY 2019.
Fiscal Year 2017 Close-out
The Board also voted 4 to 1 to close-out Fiscal Year 2017’s Budget, and allocate $11.1 million in funds surplus not needed for reserves, restricted funding, allocations already approved by Board action, or for continuing projects that straddle fiscal years. Board Member John Vihstadt voted no.
The $11.1 million is 1.4 percent of the revised FY 2017 County General Fund budget, excluding schools. Of that $11.1 million, $5.2 million was set aside for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, to be used as one-time funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund.
The remainder of the $11.1 million will be allocated for unanticipated near-term needs in Fiscal Year 2018 as follows:
- Critical Life Safety Needs: $2.0 million for investment in continued safety and access to the detention center and courts building.
- Public Safety Position Reclassifications: $1.75 million in one-time funding for several positions in public safety that were reclassified to reflect changes in federal law.
- Operating contingent: The County Manager has historically maintained a contingent to address unforeseen needs that arise during the current fiscal year ($1.25 million).
- Facility Studies: $0.9 million for follow-up work on the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee work, as directed by the County Board.
To read the staff report and view the staff’s presentation on the FY 2017 close-out, scroll down to Item No. 53 on the Agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 Recessed County Board Meeting.
View lots more information on the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget on the County website.