County Executive Chris Martino’s Proposed FY 2022 Budget marks the start of a long process that each year calls for us to examine our priorities and commitments as a community. How should we invest in our youth and education systems? Are we prepared to give first responders the resources and training they need? Will we come together to provide a safety net for our neighbors experiencing life crises?
At the outset, I see a number of key investments that continue some of the important work that began last year. I am encouraged by the inclusion of new or expanded revenue sources that over time can lessen the residential tax burden, which is felt by homeowners and renters alike. There are also some areas where I will seek more detailed justifications, or even reductions or reallocations, in expenditures. I have highlighted some of the vital investments within the proposed budget, and look forward to a robust community discussion as together we determine our fiscal priorities for the year ahead.
- $659M+ funds transfer to Prince William County Schools, including an additional $34.6M over FY21, which would be the largest single-year investment in K-12 education made by any Prince William Board
- $200K to create a “Tax Evader” program to enforce personal property tax evasion, investigating reports of vehicles with out-of-state plates
- $96K to help close the digital divide by adding hotspots at County libraries
- $178K reprogrammed from other areas to make good on the Board’s promise to examine County policies through an equity lens, to include bringing onboard Prince William’s first Equity & Inclusion Officer
- $1.2M to establish a new Homeless Navigation Center and continue homeless services at Ferlazzo Building in the interim
- $1.3M in Police staffing: expansion of the co-responder unit program, School Resource Officers for Potomac Shores Middle School and Gainesville High School, and two civilian positions to staff the Animal Shelter
- Nearly $1M to improve efficiency and capacity in our courts
- $135K will be leveraged to secure an additional $350K in state funding to found a Child Advocacy Center, which will offer services that reduce trauma for children who have experienced abuse, and increase successful prosecution of their abusers
Go to occoq.org/fy22_pwcbudget to view the full proposed budget, the budget timeline and opportunities for public engagement. The first community budget meeting takes place online this Saturday, Feb. 20 at 9 am. Later in the process, the County will add an online portal for residents to submit questions and view answers on specific budget items.