Adopted FY 2025 Budget Invests in Priority Needs for the Community

Published on April 20, 2024

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The Arlington County Board voted Saturday, April 20, 2024, to adopt a $1.65 billion balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2025, a 6.4 percent increase over FY 2024. The adopted budget focuses on foundational services for the community, including public safety, housing, behavioral health, environmental sustainability, transportation, and schools.  
 
The base real estate tax increased 2 cents to $1.033 per $100 of assessed value, which is partially offset by the move to a stormwater utility fee that reduced the tax rate by 1.7 cents. The real estate tax increase—the first since FY 2020—will fund priority needs that face the community, including affordable housing, eviction prevention, investments in the environment, and support for teens and youth, such as programs for teen mental health and substance use prevention.

The balanced budget also reflects Arlington’s ongoing challenges with increased office market vacancies and stresses on the social services network. There are significant one-time investments in the County’s economic stabilization reserve, and support for Arlington Economic Development’s small business program, food security grants, and the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Mobile Outreach Support Team (MOST). 

The budget also includes nearly $9.7 million in reductions and operational efficiencies. The reductions fall mainly into two categories: those that will limit services in less critical areas and those that reflect changing demands. The budget reduces 30 positions, both filled and vacant.  

After months of study, evaluation, and community feedback on funding priorities, the County Board-approved budget makes investments in the following areas:  

  • Housing Support: $113 million for housing programs, with an emphasis on stabilizing housing for households in need, including $15.1 million for the County’s Housing Grant Program and a new pilot housing grants category for youth aging out of foster care, $5.7 million for Permanent Supportive Housing, $4.3 million for Eviction Prevention, and $21.5 million for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) including  $1 million in one-time funding for affordable units at 30% of area median income. 

  • Teens and Youth: $4.3 million for intervention, prevention, and education efforts to address teen mental health and substance use. Investments include funds for dedicated case management for teens experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, expansion of out-of-school teen programming, and new digital and in-person outreach strategies to share programming and resources with teens and families. The budget also adds a Youth Programming Manager and extends the Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) youth programming pilots for up to 2 years, allocates money to convert the Arlington Mill computer lab to a teen media lab as well as teen spaces at Central and Westover Libraries, and funds an after-school programs pilot with Arlington Public Schools (APS). This funding is in addition to existing youth programs in APS, DPR, Department of Human Services, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and other County departments. 

  • Environment: $3.5 million for the Climate Fund, an additional $1.0 million for tree maintenance, $300,000 to proactively address emerging invasive threats to Arlington County natural lands, and $240,000 for the Tree Canopy Fund.  

  • County Workforce: Workforce investments in the adopted budget include salary increases and an increase in family leave benefits for current County staff. To assist with recruitment efforts, the budget includes a student loan supplement bonus for general employees hired after January 1, 2025. 

  • Schools: The FY 2025 transfer to Arlington Public Schools (APS) from the County is $639.7 million. This is $624.8 million in ongoing funds—an increase of $30.4 million (or 5.1%) over FY 2024—and $14.9 million in one-time funding. 

The Board held public budget and tax rate hearings in April 2024 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.  

Guidance to the County Manager 

In adopting the budget, the County Board also provided guidance to the County Manager that outlines the thought and intention behind the one-time money additions to critical areas of the FY 2025 budget. These include:   

  • Developing, coordinating, and supporting both new and existing programs across departments and with Arlington Public Schools for Youth Well-Being;  

  • Accelerating actions related to Arlington’s climate and energy resilience over the next two years, reporting on progress on a quarterly basis;  

  • Strengthening support of County Housing and affordability goals;  

  • Deepening investments in the County’s economic resilience strategies and initiatives;  

  • Expanding red-light and speed camera enforcement efforts across school zones;  

  • Providing one-time retention bonuses to uniformed Public Safety personnel and certain Department of Human Services employees; and 

  • Restoring two associate planner positions to further strengthen the Community Planning, Housing, and Development department’s capacity, including its ability to start a Low Residential Study in FY2025.  

“Budgets are value statements, and this budget aims to be both practical and caring,” Chair Libby Garvey said. “By taking advantage of an unusual amount of one-time funding—available in part because of the County’s fiscal due diligence—the Board was able to devote a significant amount of funding to jump-start and invigorate programs that will help achieve communities' priorities and meet existing challenges.”  

Read the full Board’s Budget Guidance here(PDF, 225KB).  

The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2024 

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