For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Arlington County Board last night closed out the fiscal year 2007 budget and allocated money available from FY2007 savings and higher than expected revenues to fund several key priorities. The Board increased the General Fund Operating Reserve from 2 percent to 3 percent; added more than $7 million to the capital improvement program for FY 2008 and provided a reserve of nearly $10 million for the FY 2009 budget.
Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson noted that "Arlington is fortunate, given the challenges facing many of our neighboring jurisdictions -- and the current slowing of the residential real estate market -- that we can begin planning for the 2009 budget with this reserve of one-time funds."
The County ended FY 2007 with a balanced budget. Discretionary expenditure savings and unanticipated revenue surpluses were within 2 percent of projections provided to the Board in Spring 2007.
In the close-out report, the Board fulfilled a number of prior obligations, among them: allocating $21.3 million to Arlington Public Schools based on the Revenue Sharing Agreement; designating $17.4 million for affordable housing; allocating $11.7 million to FY 2008 Pay-As-You-Go capital, and designating $2.0 million to fund the cost of future retiree health costs.
In addition, the Board took the step of increasing the County's General Fund Operating Reserve by the largest amount since its establishment in 1986. This fiscally prudent step reserves additional funds to continue to ensure the County's triple-AAA bond rating.
Details of the FY 2007 closeout are online.
The County Board also directed the County Manager to bring forward a proposed budget for FY 2009 that will be balanced within existing tax rates. The Board directed the Manager to follow the revenue sharing agreement with the Arlington County Public Schools; and to fully fund all reserve funds and "subject to appropriation" obligations.
Revenues are projected to continue their growth in FY 2009, but not at the pace of the past several years. With normal pay increases, higher health care costs, increased County retirement contributions, increased utilities costs, contracts, Metro and debt service, the County faces a challenging set of choices in the upcoming fiscal year.
County Manager Ron Carlee will be working toward closing a projected shortfall of $17 million and presenting a balanced budget for FY 2009. His first priority will be to create efficiencies that lower costs without reducing services. Carlee's report to the Board is online. He will present his proposed FY 2009 budget to the County Board in February 2008.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.