The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a 2012 budget carryover package that closes funding shortfalls in human services and sets money aside in case of federal budget cuts.
The package, which the board approved in a 9-0 vote, addresses a $9.5 million projected shortfall in the 2013 budget for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), an organization that organizes and provides services for residents with mental health issues, substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities.
After months of public input and toiling in coordination with the county’s Human Services Council, County Executive Ed Long proposed recommendations to close the shortfall, but more than $2 million in reductions will be made.
“Addressing the CSB budget shortfall during these last several months has been extremely challenging, especially given the importance and sensitivity of the services that are being provided,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.
Contrary to what many parents feared, no cuts were made to the Infant Toddler Connection or the county’s Employment and Day services for Fairfax County Public School graduates with intellectual disabilities. Youngsters who need early intervention for developmental delays will not be put on waitlists, and existing clients and current grads will get the services they need.
But Bulova said following years would continue to be difficult financially.
“We cannot have this happen again,” she said.
Cathy Hudgins, supervisor for the Hunter Mill District, agreed.
“These are the lifelines to our community,” she said of the CSB’s services, “and we have to ensure that those lifelines are there.”
In addition to closing the CSB budget shortfall, the 2012 carryover package establishes an $8.1 million reserve to be used in the event of federal budget cuts.
“Staff is working to identify potential impacts on the County based on a number of scenarios which may result from federal budget reductions,” Bulova said.
And the budget outlook for coming years doesn’t look good. Long is working on a multi-year budget process so that the county can better prepare for shortfalls, and county agencies have been asked to draft potential spending reductions for FY2014 and FY2015.
Pat Herrity, supervisor for the Springfield District, said he and his colleagues needed to have a more active role, “making decisions on what doesn’t get done,” rather than put stresses on employees who are already cut.
“We have some very serious times ahead of us,” he said.
After approving the motion, Bulova said this year’s carryover process was likely the hardest she has had to do.