April is National Volunteer Month, an official time to honor and thank the many volunteers who add value to the quality of life in our communities. We could not do all that we do in Fairfax County without the contributions of volunteers in, and from, all walks of life. Volunteers assist with clean-up and beautification projects, mentor students, help out with senior citizen needs, work at the animal shelter, deliver Meals-on-Wheels, and a myriad of other activities that help build resilience and pride in our vibrant and diverse community.
Last week, the annual Volunteer Fairfax breakfast honored Community Champions from each magisterial district. I chose Ken and Camille Mittelholtz as Mason District’s Community Champions. Although the honor usually goes to a one individual, Ken and Camille are such a team that it would have been impossible to choose one over the other. Volunteering is a longstanding family pastime in the Mittelholtz household. Ken is the current president of the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA), and Camille is a former president. They both serve as house captains for Rebuilding Together, which uses volunteer teams to fix up homes for senior and disabled citizens, allowing the residents to remain in their homes. Installing ramps and grab bars, painting, and rehabbing kitchens and bathrooms are among the activities organized by house captains for people in need. Camille also organizes the annual Crop Walk at Lake Accotink, raising money to feed the hungry around the world. They both volunteer for ACCA’s furniture program, collecting and delivering usable furniture to the needy. Ken and Camille Mittelholtz exemplify the caring heart and enduring faith of so many longtime ACCA volunteers. They truly give back to their community humbly and with compassion.
The Board of Supervisors marked up Fairfax County’s proposed FY 2014 budget on Tuesday; final adoption is scheduled for April 30, but the mark-up passed by a vote of 9 yeas and one nay (Herrity). This budget is based on a one cent tax increase, not the two cents recommended by County Executive Ed Long in February. The budget is a lean one that maintains most services, but does not include compensation increases for county employees. The school transfer increases by $33.7 million, or 2 percent over last year’s transfer, which accommodates student growth only. The total transfer to the schools, including debt service, is $1.89 billion. Supervisors also encouraged the School Board to establish an independent auditor position that would report directly to the School Board. The Board of Supervisors has had an independent auditor since the 1990s, whose work has saved millions of taxpayer dollars and resulted in more efficient delivery of services. The Board also established a Sequestration Reserve of $8.1 million that can be used, with Board approval, to address the effects of federal and state reductions that impact county revenues and programs. The Board is hopeful that such funding can remain “sequestered” and not need to be used, but the Reserve is a prudent approach to address as-yet-unknown impacts of budgetary inaction at the federal level. The FY 2014 budget goes into effect on July 1, 2013.