This study examines the cost of community services for land use categories in Fauquier County, Virginia for FY 2014. Fauquier County is a predominantly rural county on the fringe of the rapidly growing Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan statistical area. The study adheres closely to the Cost of Community Services (COCS) methodology developed by the American Farmland Trust and assigns public service expenditures and revenues generated by residential, commercial/industrial, and agriculture/open space land uses in order to gauge the comparative net fiscal effect of each land use. A variety of methods were used to allocate expenditures and revenues to land uses, including payment and service usage records, staffing information by service area, information about the purpose and beneficiaries of federal and state government grants, departmental directors and staff estimates, and fallback ratios (a default option for budget land use allocation purposes based on real property tax revenues used when other information is not available).
Results from the Cost of Community Services analysis show that residential land uses generated an estimated $186.0 million in county revenues while consuming approximately $217.4 million in county services in FY2014 for a gap of $31.4 million. Commercial/industrial and agriculture/open space generated estimated surpluses of $27.9 million and $5.6 million respectively, resulting in a total FY2014 budget surplus of $2.1 million. The FY2014 budget COCS ratio is computed by dividing the total county budget expenditure by county revenue for each land use category. This calculation results in COCS ratios of 1.169 for residential land use, 0.263 for commercial/industrial land use, and 0.222 for agriculture/open space land use.