The Board of Supervisors will weigh whether to increase supervisors’ office budgets by about $30,000 each.
The eight district offices, the front line of supervisors’ interactions with their constituents, as well as the source of a lot of the grunt work performed on their behalf, currently receive $120,597 each annually in funding from the county. The office of the county chairman’s office receives $161,040.
Although supervisors have other careers separate from their elected roles, each of their offices employs and equips one or two full-time employees, in addition to part-time employees and interns in most cases. Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) has proposed increasing district funding by $270,000 in total, to either distribute evenly among all nine offices or in proportion to workload and population growth.
Letourneau was absent from the meeting of the board’s finance committee, which he chairs, when the proposal was scheduled for discussion Tuesday night. Committee Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) moved to forward the item to the full board without a recommendation.
“I know there’s not consensus … but I didn’t want it to gridlock in a 2-2 vote with four of us up here,” Buona said, speaking of the committee’s reduced number in Letourneau’s absence.
The committee voted 4-0-1 to forward the item to the board.
In the board member initiative proposing the additional funding, Letourneau argues that increases in population, regional involvement, and land use applications have increased the work load on the staff aides in district offices. Plus, the flat funding since fiscal year 2013 has put annual raises for staff aides at risk while other county employees have reliably earned raises between 2 and 3.5 percent during that time.
He also points out that the county’s growth has not been distributed evenly across its nine election districts since 2011 redistricting attempted to approximately even the population numbers in each district. According to staff reports, at that time districts were arranged with populations varying from 37,409 in Catoctin to 40,464 in Algonkian. Between the 2010 census and 2015, U.S. Census Bureau annual population estimates have added 60,029 Loudouners across the county, around 20 percent growth.
According to the county administrator, the $270,000 price tag could be shifted from unallocated money in the already adopted fiscal year 2017 budget.
The board is not yet scheduled to take up the issue.