DES FY 2015 Budget - Needs Again Deferred to Fund Wants
County Board met with the County Manager and the Department of Environmental Services (DES) on March 20th to discuss DES's FY 15 budget. Was street paving a primary item on the agenda? Was water main replacement a primary item on the agenda? Was replacing Arlington's old and inefficient street lights (mostly owned by Dominion) a primary item on the agenda? No. ART bus route expansion was on the agenda - paid for by fare increases. (Where is the money from the real estate tax surtax going?) However, County Board Chair Jay Fisette argued for making ART and many other services self-supporting, an idea opposed by the rest of the County Board and County Manager.
No argument about Chairman Fisette's pet programs, however. Solid waste fee will be increased to cover both yard waste and kitchen waste disposal. Homeowners will have 3 bins for waste. Chairman Fisette's Dominion-friendly community energy program (no renewable energy allowed) is getting underway. Ballston Parking Garage will consume $7 million in FY 15 - I thought the County was on a car free diet. Biggest increase in the DES budget is an increase of $8.6 million and 11 full time employees to begin implementing Virginia's Stormwater Management Program, an unfunded mandate that will become increasingly expensive.
The proposed Pike streetcar system wasn't mentioned, most likely because any discussion would have provoked a sharp rebuke to the rest of the County Board and County Staff by Libby Garvey.
See you at the FY 15 Budget public hearing tomorrow night.