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Fairfax Co. begins budget hearings

WASHINGTON — You don’t often hear people ask lawmakers to raise taxes, but residents concerned about funding for Fairfax County Public Schools made that appeal to county leaders.

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors began public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget Tuesday, April 5. The proposed county budget allocation to county schools is about $14 million less than requested by the Fairfax County School Board.

County schools spokesman John Torre tells WTOP that the increase in state aid and sales tax, along with the current proposed 3 percent transfer increase from the county, “still leaves us with about a $50 million shortfall.”

That leaves some advocates calling for more money for schools.

“Raise our property taxes this year and get the meals tax on the ballot to help us rebuild Fairfax County to what it should be and is expected to be,” said Fairfax Education Association President Kimberly Adams of Springfield.

“It is important to me that we have high-quality public services,” Adams said.

Danielle Wilkerson, who identifies herself as a single 35-year-old with no children in the schools, is among the residents asking for a tax increase.

“I ask you, please to raise our taxes by the 4 cents that is still possible so that I can live in the kind of community that I thought this was when I moved here,” Wilkerson said while referencing a proposal to raise real estate tax rates.

“I ask you to understand that a tax rate which may simply be an inconvenience to the most prosperous among us may fund the needs to residents on the other end of the spectrum,” Wilkerson said.

Speaking at the public hearing as a member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party, another resident told county supervisors to find ways to cut wasteful spending before raising taxes.

“Do not raise my taxes,” said Ron Wilcox. “If you raise taxes, serious budget cuts will ensure — they’ll be in my household.”

Public comment on budget proposals is welcome before the Board of Supervisors at 1 p.m. on April 6 and April 7.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss budget priorities at meetings on April 15 and April 19. A formal adoption of the county budget is scheduled for April 26.

On May 26 the Fairfax County School Board adopts its FY 2017 budget.

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