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County's Proposed Budget is Irresponsible, and Not Fiscally Sustainable

While Arlington homeoners are still reeling from the right-cross delivered when they opened the 2004 real estate assessment notices sent out by the County Assessor last month, the County Manager hit them with a left upper-cut on Saturday with his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2005. That's on top of last year's assessments, which were 17% more than the 2002 assessments. Not only does the County Manager's proposed budget keep the current real estate tax rates the same, says yesterday's Washington Post, the paper points out the budget would increase the E-911 monthly telephone charge from $1.75 to $3.00, and his budget would add $72 to the average residential water and sewer bill. According to the county's Saturday press release about the Manager's proposal, the budget is a 7.1% increase over last year's budget at a time when the latest data from the federal government shows inflation increased by 1.9% in 2003. Such increases of two and three times the inflation rate have been common over the past several years. How fiscally sustainable and responsible is that? And, what about the schools budget? Today's Northern Virginia Journal points out that because of the School Board's revenue sharing agreement with the County Board, the schools will be getting a 9.6% increase even though enrollment has leveled out. Citizens interested in digging into the budget, and learning how their tax dollars are spent can access the budget online by using the link near the bottom of the press release. Remember, though: as Kiljoy says in ACTA's ad in last week's Arlington Sun-Gazette, "assessments don't tax people, politicians tax people!" Look for it in the next several weekly issues; give it to your neighbor if you are already an ACTA member.

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