Adopted FY 2024 Budget Addresses Community Needs Across Arlington
Published on April 22, 2023
The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday, April 22, 2023, to adopt a $1.55 billion balanced Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The adopted budget focuses on community needs as the County continues to emerge from the pandemic, including affordable housing, while also providing foundational services, such as public safety, environmental services, transportation, and schools.
The base real estate tax rate remains unchanged at $1.013 per $100 of assessed value.
“As we return to normalcy after years of prioritizing critical operations and making difficult budget decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Arlington is finally in a position to build much-needed capacity within its departments and in its efforts to address community priorities and needs,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. “The past few years impacted everyone, especially our lower-income neighbors. Adding funding to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, for example, ensures that we maintain our vital role in financing affordable housing development within Arlington. Moreover, the County Board is eager to capitalize on opportunities that may arise from the Homeownership Study, helping us further understand how to better support existing and aspiring homeowners.”
After months of study, evaluation, and community feedback on budget priorities, the County Board approved funding for the next fiscal year that makes investments in the following areas:
- Housing Support: The Adopted Budget includes over $85 million dedicated to housing programs, with an emphasis on stabilizing housing for households in need and improving housing conditions. These investments include $14.4 million for the County’s Housing Grant program, $5.4 million for the Permanent Supportive Housing program, and $4.6 million for eviction prevention. The budget also includes $20.5 million for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, with the dedication of revenue from the Columbia Pike Tax Increment Financing District that totals $5.2 million.
- Workforce Investment for County Employees. The County Board approved salary increases and additional benefits to help attract and retain County employees, including expanded parental leave, bereavement leave, and increased contributions for adoptions and Health Savings Accounts.
- Commercial Resiliency: To address the high commercial vacancy rate and support economic recovery for the business community, the budget includes $1 million for the Arlington Innovation Fund and continued small business support.
- Capital Investments: The Approved Budget includes investments that benefit the community in the areas of energy management, facilities, parks, technology, and transportation. These investments include street lighting and safety improvements, electric vehicle chargers, and playground design and replacement.
- Schools: The FY 2024 transfer to Arlington Public Schools (APS) from the County is $608.2 million—46.8 percent of local tax revenues. This funding level is a 4 percent increase over FY 2023.
Investing in Our Future
In addition to these investments, the County Board approved funding to address emergent issues affecting the community, including behavioral health challenges and the impacts of climate change.
“This budget is also responsive to the ongoing threats to the health of our community,” added Chair Dorsey. “In collaboration with APS, we are providing four Behavioral Health Therapists for youth to help address the current opioid crisis in Arlington schools. Our commitment to our children’s livelihoods should not end there, however. As the climate crisis worsens, we must do our part now to provide them a future to look forward to. The additional staff position in the newly created Office of Climate Coordination and Policy will amplify our climate action efforts and help build a more sustainable and climate-conscious Arlington.”
The County Board approved a $98 increase in household solid waste fees due to increased costs from driver shortages, labor costs, and equipment pricing. The Board also approved an increase in water-sewer rates, which are estimated to impact a median residential customer $26 per year, or 3.5%, based on increases to both the volumetric and base charges.
The Board held public budget and tax rate hearings in March 2023 with opportunities for public comment. Since January, the County Board has received phone calls, emails, and letters regarding different areas of the budget and has considered them as part of their deliberations. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2023.
Guidance to the County Manager
In adopting the budget, the County Board also included guidance to the County Manager to:
- Bring forward in November 2023—at the time of FY 2023 closeout—options for allocating one-time close-out money to the total Notice of Funding Available for Human and Community Services currently being developed by the County Manager’s Office.
- Offer an implementation schedule, potential program guidelines, and recommended funding levels for launching an Affordable EHO Homeownership Pilot Program by the end of 2024.
- Ensure that additional capacity and backbone support through a new full-time position is provided to the Department of Human Services for the implementation of the Childcare Initiative Action Plan and other existing plans.
- Consider, in consultation with union representatives, any potential enhancements to the newly revised step and grade wage structures that would address compensation, recruitment, retention and pay compression challenges facing police and fire staff.
Learn more about the FY 2024 Budget on the County website, including staff reports and the County Manager’s Proposed Budget presentation.