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FY2011 CAFR - Fairfax County Government

FY2011 CAFR - Fairfax County Government

le t t e r o f tr a n S

le t t e r o f tr a n S m i t t a l visits were made to the branches and 4.5 million visits were made to the Library’s Web site. The Library has computers for access to the Internet, the catalog, e-books, downloadable audio books and databases. The Library sponsors various programs: national and local author readings and book signings, music concerts, and a wide variety of other events for the diverse population of the County. Shopping opportunities abound and continue to grow throughout the County. With more than 200 shopping centers and thousands of restaurants offering a variety of world cuisine, Fairfax County offers one of the best shopping and dining experiences on the East Coast. Tysons Corner, the “downtown” of Fairfax County, is home to several malls that feature such retailers as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s. Reston, an internationally-known planned community - the first post-war planned community in America - sparked a revival of the planned community concept. The Reston Town Center, now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, offers more than fifty retail shops and thirty restaurants. The recently opened Fairfax Corner is a mixed-use development that offers main street style shopping at both national chains and local boutiques. It features a state of the art movie theater and one of the best mixes of restaurants in the area. fi n a n c i a l in f o r m a t i o n Ten Principles of Sound Financial Management The keystone of the County’s maintenance of fiscal integrity and sound financial management is the continuing commitment of the County’s Board of Supervisors. This commitment is evidenced by the Board’s rigorous adherence to County-developed policies, collectively known as the Ten Principles of Sound Financial Management. These principles, the policy context in which financial decisions are considered and taken, relate primarily to the integration of capital planning, debt planning, cash management, and productivity as a means of ensuring prudent and responsible allocation of the County’s resources. The County maintains a self-managed investment program under the direction and oversight of an Investment Committee. The committee is composed of the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of the Department of Finance, the Director of the Department of Tax Administration, and certain employees within the Department of Finance. Guided by a formal investment policy, the committee monitors daily investment activity and evaluates investment strategies biweekly. The County’s investment policies are thoroughly reviewed on a quarterly basis and subjected to annual peer review by the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada. Bu d G e t a r y a n d ac c o u n t i n G co n t r o l S The Code of Virginia requires that the County adopt a balanced budget. The County maintains extensive budgetary controls at certain legal, managerial and administrative levels. The adopted Fiscal Planning Resolution places legal restrictions on expenditures at the agency or fund level. Managerial budgetary control is maintained and controlled at the fund, department, and character or project level. Any revisions that alter the total expenditures of any agency or fund must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. The County’s budget is adopted by May 1 for the coming fiscal year, which commences on July 1. The two budget reviews, the Carryover Review and the Third Quarter Review, serve as the primary mechanisms for revising appropriations. State law requires that a public hearing be held prior to the adoption of amendments to the current year budget when adjustments exceed $500,000. In addition, any amendment of $500,000 or more requires that the Board advertise a synopsis of the proposed changes. Since 1999, the County has maintained a Revenue Stabilization Fund, included in the General Fund for reporting purposes, to provide a mechanism for maintaining a balanced budget without resorting to tax increases and expenditure reductions that aggravate the stresses imposed by the cyclical nature of the economy. The Board established the fund with the condition that it will not be used as a method of addressing the demand for new or expanded services but will be used solely as a financial tool in the event of an XVI co u n t y o f fa i r f a x, virGinia co m p r e h e n S i v e an n u a l fi n a n c i a l re p o r t

in t r o d u c t o r y Se c t i o n (u n a u d i t e d) le t t e r o f tr a n S m i t t a l economic downturn, and then only under strict parameters. The Revenue Stabilization Fund has a targeted balance of 3.0 percent of General Fund disbursements and is separate and distinct from the County’s 2.0 percent Managed Reserve, which was established initially in fiscal year 1983. The aggregate of both reserves will not exceed 5.0 percent. As of June 30, 2011, the Revenue Stabilization Fund and Managed Reserve balances were $104,741,751 and $68,041,222, respectively. The County’s management is responsible for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure designed to ensure that the assets of the government are protected from loss, theft, or misuse and to ensure that adequate accounting data are compiled to allow for the preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. The internal control structure is designed to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that these objectives are met. The concept of reasonable assurance recognizes that the cost of a control should not exceed the benefits likely to be derived. The evaluation of costs and benefits requires estimates and judgments by management. As a recipient of federal and state financial assistance, the County also is responsible for maintaining an adequate internal control structure to ensure and document compliance with applicable laws and regulations related to these programs. This internal control structure is subject to periodic evaluation by management, the internal audit staff of the County, and independent auditors. As part of the County’s single audit, tests are made of the County’s internal control structure and of its compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to major federal award programs. The testing of major federal award programs for the year ended June 30, 2011, disclosed no material internal control weaknesses or material violations of laws and regulations. The Single Audit Report is published under separate cover. Debt Administration Fairfax County borrows money by issuing general obligation bonds to finance major capital projects. Bond financing spreads the cost of land acquisition and building construction over a period of many years, rather than charging the full cost to current taxpayers. By law, general obligation bonds must be approved in advance by County voters in a referendum. The County continues to maintain its status as a top rated issuer of tax-exempt securities. The County has the highest credit ratings possible for a local government for its general obligation bonds: Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., AAA from Standard and Poor’s Corporation, and AAA from Fitch Investor Service. The County has had an Aaa rating since October 1975, when it first received a rating from Moody’s. Standard and Poor’s Corporation first gave Fairfax County an AAA rating in October 1978, and Fairfax County has maintained that rating. The Fitch Investor Service rating was first received in the spring of 1997 and has been maintained since then. Factors contributing to Fairfax County’s high credit rating include recognized excellence in financial management, superior tax collection rates, low debt ratios, and high income levels. As of April 2011, only 8 of 50 states, 36 of 3,143 counties, and 36 of 19,429 cities in the U.S. had such high bond ratings from all three rating agencies. These high credit ratings enable Fairfax County to sell bonds at interest rates significantly lower than those of most municipalities, resulting in substantial savings for County taxpayers throughout the life of the bonds. The details of bonds outstanding and bonds authorized-but-not-issued are shown in Note K to the financial statements. Tables 3.1 through 3.5 of the Statistical Section provide detailed historical information regarding the debt position and debt service requirements of the County. XVII

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    Fairfax County Government Center 12

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