Out Of Touch
Photo from the
Fairfax County web site
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
They sit in their cushy room at the Fairfax County Government Center, referred to by many residents as "The Taj Mahal," complete with massive marble columns and a special tabletop of outrageous expense, and make all kinds of decisions. Visitors to the Government Center are awed by the opulence there and find themselves speaking in whispers.
According to this April 22, 2006 article in the Washington Post,
"Fairfax County supervisors agreed [on Thursday, April 19] to cut 11 cents from the property tax rate to help offset soaring assessments. At the same time, they gave themselves a 27 percent raise...."In spite of the cut in the rate, real-estate taxes will again go up this year. Never mind that the housing market has slowed to a snail's pace. Never mind that longtime residents are being gouged by assessments based on the sale value of homes which many lifelong residents had no intention of selling until the taxes soared out of sight. Never mind that a recent study showed that real-estate speculation—now headed for a bust—played a large part in the soaring assessments.
The aformentioned article provides all sorts of logical reasons for the Board's recent decision, among them the following:
"...The supervisors' first salary increase in eight years will bring their pay to $75,000 from the current $59,000, reflecting similar moves by other Washington area governments. It would not take effect until 2008, after the next election. The 10-member board in Fairfax technically works part time, but the job of serving a county of more than 1 million people is widely acknowledged to be full time. Griffin said he proposed the raise based on an analysis of elected officials in similarly sized governments nationwide and locally, where salaries are higher.And the final corker:
"The budget — 6.4 percent higher than last year — includes $87 million in new county spending to fund an average 4.25 percent salary increase for fire and police staff and 4.3 percent for employees not in public safety.
"But the increases did little to mask tensions among county workers, hundreds of whom picketed public budget hearings last month. Rank-and-file workers protested a pay-for-performance system that began six years ago to reward merit over seniority. Workers got the attention of some board members after complaining that the system rewards some new hires with salaries equal to or higher than those of veterans."
"Supervisors agreed yesterday that the system needs to be overhauled but could not agree on how to make changes and whether they could be made this year...."The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors had no difficulty in agreeing upon a pay raise for themselves. The Fairfax County Government will extract from the taxpayers' pockets enough money to pay their own real-estate taxes.