Developing the City of Fairfax budget is pretty much a year-round endeavor. Staff and City Council continually review the current budget, look for areas of improvement and identify needs.
It's during the fall when much of the work comes together as staff looks to Council for budget guidance so that the City Manager can then develop and present a budget to Mayor, Council and public in February, with the Council adopting the budget usually in late April or May.
The Patch has a pretty good summary of the budget situation for FY 2014 (budget starts July 1, 2013). Keep in mind though that the term "deficit" really reflects the gap between what we think we need to fund and what current tax rates/revenues will support. Here is a link to the story: http://fairfaxcity.patch.com/articles/fairfax-city-faces-5-2m-budget-deficit
At the upcoming City Council meeting on December 11 we are looking to get early input from the public on the guidance Council provides to staff for the formulation of the proposed budget. Here is the draft guidance we've been discussing: http://fairfax.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&event_id=148&meta_id=31749.
The reason this is important is because we need to know how you think your tax dollars should be spent.
It's fair to say that the City has done fairly well despite some of the rough economic weather over the last several years. Tax rates have stayed low, we earned top (AAA) bond ratings in the middle of a recession and have still maintained high quality services.
However, as the economy thaws we are starting to see some of the cracks in the infrastructure such as our roads, parks and other maintenance needs that were delayed due to the need for us to cut costs. So, part of the discussion we will have is on what - if any - additional money do we reinvest in our infrastructure.
Our proposed Capital Improvement Project (CIP) program has some pretty aggressive approaches to tackling the backlog of projects that were postponed. For example, there are significant needs to ramp up the street paving program and we have park pavilions where shingles are falling off and the pavilions need to be repaired or replaced. These are the kinds of meat and potatoes issues that face us in how we spend your tax dollars. Here is a link to the proposed CIP: http://fairfax.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=998&meta_id=31757.
Please come to the December 11 Council meeting and let us know your thoughts. Or shoot us a line. I can be reached at Dan.Drummond@fairfaxva.gov.