Adopted FY 2023 Budget Looks Beyond Pandemic with Focus on Employees

Published on April 26, 2022

FY23 Budget infographic.PNG

Adopted FY 2023 Budget Looks Beyond Pandemic with Focus on Employees

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Tuesday, April 26, to adopt a $1.50 billion balanced General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2023. The Adopted Budget leaves the base real estate tax rate unchanged at $1.013 per $100 of assessed value. The FY 2023 budget begins to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on employee compensation, the environment, housing, and public safety, among other priorities.

“After two years of minimal salary increases and a rising cost of living, this budget recognizes the hard work of our employees, which was so critical throughout the pandemic,” said County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “We made compensation our top priority in this budget, to give meaning to all the ‘thank you, essential workers’ sentiments expressed over the past two years. This budget also prioritizes new investments that will create unprecedented energy and focus in the key policy areas of climate action and affordable housing, building on and amplifying existing efforts to create a more sustainable, equitable Arlington.”

Investing in Community Priorities

The County Board approved funding for FY 2023 is the result of months of study, evaluation, and input from the public. Core investments in the Adopted Budget include:

  • Employee Compensation: The budget includes merit increases of 5.25 percent for general employees. To improve recruitment and retention, the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office uniformed employees will receive an 8.5 percent increase and uniform police will receive a 13.5 percent increase. One-time incentives for retention, referral, and signing bonuses will also be provided for hard-to-fill positions across the County. The budget also includes a 5 percent increase to the minimum salaries of County employees to improve recruitment, and a one-time bonus of $1,600 gross. Funding is also included to begin implementation of the collective bargaining ordinance.
  • Environment: The budget brings new investments of more than $4.65 million to execute climate resilient programs to combat climate change. The adopted budget includes the creation of the Office of Climate Coordination and Policy (OCCP) in the County Manager’s Office to focus on advancing key climate policies and strengthen interdepartmental coordination across government. OCCP will also work in partnership with the Arlington Rethink Energy Team (AIRE) team toward successful implementation of the County’s climate goals with businesses and residents across our community. The budget also includes $1 million for an Arlington CEP (Community Energy Plan) Action Fund to address emerging opportunities to affect climate change. These investments could include additional electrification of County vehicles, energy efficiency projects, and the advancement of the Community Energy Plan (CEP).
  • Affordable Housing: As one of the County’s top priorities, this budget commits funding for eviction prevention and increasing housing support, with $14.3 million in housing grant support and $3.4 million for permanent supportive housing. The budget also includes $23 million in federal funding for housing choice vouchers and $18.7 million for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). Two new positions are being created to provide additional capacity for housing development and oversight of the County’s committed affordable housing units.  
  • Public Safety: The adopted budget reduces the Police workweek by 2.5 hours to help with retention and recruitment and provide a better work-life balance. This will be the first full year of the Fire Department’s Kelly Day, which increased staffing levels to allow firefighters to work a 50-hour week schedule rather than a 56-hour week allowing us to remain competitive in the region. The budget also includes funding for the implementation of the Police Practices Group recommendations, including the continuation of the Community Oversight Board and crisis intervention support.
  • Schools: The County Board also added $8.4 million of one-time funding for Arlington Public Schools. The total FY 2023 transfer to the Arlington Public Schools from the County is $584.4 million ($563.9 million in ongoing, a $36.8 million increase or 7 percent compared to FY 2022 and $20.5 million in one-time funding).

Personal Property Tax Relief

The budget also includes vehicle tax relief by adjusting the assessment tax ratio to 88 percent of a car’s value and the elimination of the regressive $33 Motor Vehicle Fee for Arlington residents. These changes are in response to a surge in vehicle valuations, directly related to supply chain issues and rising market prices impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board held the budget and tax rate hearings in person and virtually, with dozens of residents participating. Hundreds of comments on the budget were made part of the public record and considered by the Board during its deliberations. The new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2022.

Learn more about the FY 2023 Budget on the County website, including staff reports and the County Manager’s Proposed Budget presentation.

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