Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
This is the time that the Arlington County Board generally adopts guidelines for the County Manager to use in preparing the County’s operating budget for the next fiscal year. As a point of reference, you can review the guidelines the Board adopted last year here. ARLnow.com readers should review last year’s guidelines as context for this column.
As I have written in earlier columns, to accommodate the new normal of Arlington’s budget environment, Arlington needs to move now to the type of core services approach to budgeting used in other jurisdictions. Based on that reasoning, the budget guidelines the County Board should adopt this year ought to differ substantially from those it adopted last year.
Here are the guidelines that the County Board ought to provide to the County Manager in preparing the next Operating Budget:
“The County Board directs the County Manager to prepare an FY 2015 budget that realistically reflects current economic conditions. The County Board believes that Arlington faces substantial economic challenges, and will continue to face such challenges for the foreseeable future. A significant slowdown in the growth of federal government spending and troubling increases in commercial office vacancy rates are among these challenges.
“To accommodate this new normal in Arlington, the FY 2015 budget must give priority to spending on core government services such as the public schools, public safety, and maintenance of existing infrastructure. We must continue to ensure a safety net for those in need.
“In developing her Proposed FY15 Budget, the County Manager is directed to:
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.