From Matt de Ferranti <[email protected]>
Subject The 2024 Arlington County Budget
Date April 30, 2023 7:59 PM
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Dear Friends,

The April County Board meetings focused on adoption of our budget--the priorities we agree to invest in as a community. Housing, our schools, climate, economic development, and employee compensation, including our public safety employees, were my priorities.
FY 2024 County Budget Infographic. For a full page version, click on this link and look for the Infographic in bold: [link removed]
Affordable housing through AHIF (Affordable Housing Investment Fund) was the issue that was raised most by residents both in person and via email in the course of our deliberations on the budget this year. I was proud to prioritize both one-time and ongoing funding for AHIF. Affordable housing is a critical need and a priority that led me to run for the Board.

We added $5.6 million in direct AHIF funding and, together with funding we are allocating to the Barcroft Apartments, we reached the standard of $18.7 million that advocates correctly described as the minimum investment needed in this year's budget. I agree that we must do more next year and am committed to following through on that priority.

We also invested $150K in funding to oversee conditions at affordable housing units across the County, a second ongoing housing priority that needs support that came out of the oversight work I led as Chair of the Board in 2021 on the Serrano.
One Page Summary of the Budget ([link removed])
Climate was also a high priority for me, so I pushed to add a second climate employee in our office of climate coordination; this position was left out of the initial proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The added revenue that forecast over the last 4 months helped make this possible. We need the staff capacity for the transformational change that recent climate science demands.

On our schools, the County worked with Arlington Public Schools on resources that will help APS follow through on our shared goal of compensating our educators. We also added four mental health professionals in our high schools, which was a product of collaborative work. That funding was part of revenue sharing, so I cannot and must not take credit, but I can take some credit for securing $95k in ongoing funding to help teens with open, supervised time at community centers that is needed post-pandemic.

I also own the decision to leave the tax rate the same: if we want our schools and County services to be the best in Virginia, the County Board must make decisions that allow APS to invest.

On economic development, the Langston Boulevard Alliance and the Clarendon Alliance, along with the Columbia Pike Partnership each are economic multiplier organizations. We were able to increase ongoing funding for each, a priority of mine that I share with colleagues and Arlington Economic Development.

I am very pleased that we added staff capacity to help address child care, a critical issue that is in need of full time staff support to help us promote and realize affordable options for families.

On employee compensation, we provided our police with a 10% raise and helped address compression issues that officers identified. Similarly, we were able to take additional steps with and for our firefighters at their request and provide salary increases for our Sheriff's Deputies.

On Board salaries, for transparency and accountability to you, I voted for an increase in salaries from $77K to $89K for Board Members. The job is a full time job. There is no part of County Code or our websites that says otherwise, because it is full time. We must value public service so that residents of different income levels can afford to serve.

I also advocated successfully for one-time funding to fight hunger and ongoing funding for staff to help our criminal justice system through our version of probation, our Criminal Corrections Unit.
I joined the Arlington Chamber of Commerce for their annual Volunteer Day and was inspired to meet Arlingtonians serving our community.
Finally, I want to bring to your attention a cause that is close to my heart. I started my career by teaching in Houston in a 100% free and reduced lunch school. One thing my students did not all have was an opportunity to play sports after school.

In Arlington there is an effort through the Arlington Community Foundation and the Arlington Sports Foundation to provide our 6 elementary schools with the highest percentages of students from low-income households with that opportunity. Please join me in contributing a little to try to help.

To learn go here: [link removed]

To contribute, go here: [link removed]

Serving you and the American Dream in Arlington with a full heart,


Authorized by Matt for Arlington

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