** Call or email your Fairfax County Supervisor NOW to demand increased funding for natural resources in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
Photos: English Ivy smothering a tree, Porcelainberry vine with berries. Glenda Booth
Fairfax County is setting its Fiscal Year 2023 budget in hearings beginning Tuesday, April 12. Please contact your District Supervisor NOW and let him or her know you want the budget to reflect the importance of natural resources to our physical and emotional health. You can identify your District Supervisor here ([link removed]) .
If there’s a park or natural area near you that needs attention, mention it by all means. Other points you can make:
* Although Fairfax County is ranked among the richest counties in the US ([link removed]) , natural resource management is underfunded at a rate below national benchmarks. The proposed budget funds natural resource management at $159 per managed acre per year, which is far below the national benchmark of $3,000-$6,000. Park Authority Board Presentation ([link removed]) , at 39:50.
* Because of budget limits, invasive plants are overwhelming natural areas, displacing native plants, killing trees, and degrading wildlife habitat.
* Current budgets fail to recognize the full value of natural resources: natural areas provide free ecological services, absorbing polluted stormwater runoff and cleaning the air.
* Shortchanging natural areas also undervalues the benefits that visitors receive from quiet enjoyment of nature.
The following immediate changes are necessary
1. Increase the share of the General Fund allocated to the Fairfax County Park Authority (before revenue sharing with schools) from 0.6 % to 1%, specifically to increase funding for sustainable natural resources management.
2. Reject the County Executive’s proposed FY 2023 bond cycle change, maintaining the four-year bond cycle and increasing the bond level to $150 million every four years. Authorize an off-cycle bond issue to cover the unfunded backlog of capital maintenance and repair projects ($250 million) for FCPA’s aging buildings and infrastructure.
3. Increase FCPA funding to improve natural resource management and to implement the One Fairfax program to consider equity when making policies or delivering programs. Increases in Fiscal 2023 should be sustained or increased for the next three fiscal years and beyond.
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