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Fairfax supervisors to decide on ways to spend leftover cash

Public hearing on proposal to be held in September

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being carried over from the fiscal 2023 budget, and Fairfax County officials are proposing a bevy of ways to spend them.

The Board of Supervisors on July 25 set a public hearing for Sept. 26  to discuss the proposed budget-carryover package.

According to a July 24 memo to supervisors from County Executive Bryan Hill, Fairfax County has $203.14 million available from fiscal 2023, not including federal stimulus moneys. Hill recommended spending $200.9 million and left the remaining $2.24 million for one-time requirements.

The carryover proposal calls for:

• $3 million for building-energy improvements by energy-service companies.

• $1.8 million for the fifth and final year of the Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) streetlight-conversion plan.

•  $1.4 million for solar-panel installations at some county facilities.

• $600,000 to continue implementation of the county’s “Green Bank” initiative.

• $250,000 to implement the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan.

• $1 million ($100,000 for each of the nine magisterial offices, plus that of the Board of Supervisors chairman) for small-scale capital improvements.

• $300,000 to enhance Fairfax County Public Library’s collection development.

• $230,000 to remove illegal signs from rights-of-way.

• $15.7 million in additional support for the Park Authority, including $5 million to cover escalating costs of the agency’s capital-improvement projects, $2.5 million for turf-field replacements in fiscal 2024, $1 million for facilities, $740,000 to replace equipment used in construction and maintenance tasks, $500,000 for the Park Authorities forestry operations and $5.96 for infrastructure replacement and upgrades.

• $7 million for building and site improvements at the Workhouse Campus in Lorton.

• $5 million for the construction-escalation reserve, to account for the recent trend of higher construction prices and supply-chain issues.

• $5 million for emergency repairs of major systems at aging county facilities.

• $3 million to relocate temporarily the Joseph Willard Health Center’s clinical services while the facility is being renovated.

• $800,000 for security assessments and improvements at county facilities, including security upgrades at county supervisors’ offices.

• $14.51 million for information-technology projects, including replacement of some voting machines and the legacy inmate-management system, as well as modernization of the county’s Geographic Information Systems infrastructure.

• $8.76 million to various reserve funds.

County staff recommended creation of 32 new positions as part of the budget-carryover review. Eighteen of those jobs would be with the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which will establish three teams of healthcare professionals who will provide youth services.

Eight positions would be in the Customer Technical Support Center of Land Development Services. The remaining six would work in the Department of Human Resources, Office of the County Attorney and Department of Management and Budget, where they would help those agencies handle increased workloads associated with collective bargaining.

Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield) asked county staff before the public hearing to provide a more detailed breakdown by category of Fairfax County Public Schools’ $102.5 million carryover request, which if approved would result in 205 more positions.

About half of the school system’s request was taken up by two items: $30 million for its Special Education Compensatory Services Fund (no new jobs created) and $21.5 million to replenish the staffing reserve by hiring 200 more workers.

Other FCPS requests included $12.4 million for strategies to close the achievement gap; a $7.1 million transfer for major maintenance; $6.7 million to enhance the summer-school reserve; $6.6 million to replace the human-capital management system; $3.5 million for incentives to substitute teachers; and $3 million for a safety-and-security-screening pilot program.

The school system also is seeking $2.9 million in carryover funds to account for utilities inflation; $2.1 million for fuel inflation; $2 million for turf replacement; $1.8 million for administrative pay-scale enhancements; $900,000 for fine-arts stipends; $800,000 for pre-kindergarten expansion; $600,000 for first-year certified athletic trainers (this would finance five new positions); $400,000 for adult and community education; and $300,000 to support mental-health teletherapy.

County officials also plan to carry forward $118.71 million in unspent stimulus funds out of the original $222.89 million from the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.