ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — On Tuesday, Arlington County approved its $1.4 billion Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, falling revenue and heavy impacts on the county’s commercial and business properties have resulted in a $26 million budget shortfall.
However, the budget was still unanimously approved, and the county said the funding “makes strategic investments in areas that have long been community priorities.”
Arlington highlights its community priorities below:
Housing Assistance and Affordable Housing Supply: This budget reinforces our commitment to equity, focusing on eviction prevention and direct housing support, reducing clients’ income contribution towards rent from 40% to 30% for the Housing Grants Program ($487,713). Together with the one-time funding maintaining the COVID eligibility criteria, the total FY 2022 funding for Housing Grants totals $14.2 million and adds $592,000 to permanent supportive housing. The budget also includes $21 million in housing choice vouchers and $16.9 million for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF). It also extends the payment waiver for AHIF loans through Dec. 31, 2021. A total of $5.0 million of the $17.5 million FY 2022 COVID contingent is allocated for eviction prevention work that may not be covered by direct assistance from the state or other funding sources.
Economic Recovery and Hunger: The budget continues a commitment to economic recovery. For Arlington’s small business community, funding is set aside through a COVID contingency for a follow–up program from last year’s GRANT program with Arlington Economic Development. Funding to address the economic impact of COVID is also included for food security through the COVID contingency for food and a new Food Security Coordinator position.
Police Practices Group: Approximately $1.5 million dollars is included to address recommendations from the Police Practice Group. This includes $125,000 for an auditor/monitor position as part of the hybrid model for a civilian review board and $574,000 for an enhanced mental health crisis response program in the Department of Human Services to pay for a physician’s assistant, nurse, clinician, transport van and operating supplies. The budget also includes six unsworn officers for parking enforcement, traffic direction, and safety.
Climate Change and Sustainability: The budget invests in our goals for a sustainable community. Specifically, the budget includes $250,000 toward the design, purchase and installation of 13 charging stations for electric vehicles and provides supplemental funding of $33,000 to double the number of electric vehicles purchased in FY 2022. Additionally, the Board directed the County Manager to develop a recommendation to coordinate a “whole of government” approach to achieving Arlington’s Climate Change and Sustainability goals, including sustainability practices and developments, short-term strategies and more.
Facilities: The budget includes funding for the opening of the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Facility using funding from Boeing for operating costs and the new Lubber Run Community Center ($973K offset by $600K in community center staff savings).
Arlington Public Schools (APS): The budget provides one-time funding of $2.8 million for Summer School Incentive Payments, costs of opening Cardinal Elementary School and the Education Center and operating a distance learning program in the fall. The total FY 2022 transfer to the Arlington Public Schools from the County is $529.9 million, an overall 1% increase compared to FY 2021.
Also, good news for County employees: employees will be compensated with a one-time $900 net bonus as well as a 1% increase in the new budget year. The County is also increasing the lowest pay wage from $15 to $17 per hour.
To see the full FY 2022 budget presentation, click here.