Updates from Letty – March 24, 2017

Blog posts are the personal views of Letty Hardi and not official statements or records on behalf of the Falls Church City Council

Dear Friends,

We have a busy few days (weeks) ahead of us. This week’s update will be briefer as we continued discussion in work session on many of the same topics I wrote about last week. If you haven’t read last week’s post about the proposed budget and the Mt. Daniel issue, now is a good time to catch up! A few things to call out as you make your plans:

This weekend: tomorrow morning, the Planning Commission and City staff are hosting a kickoff meeting to get community input on the High School “Small Area Plan” for the parcel of land that encompasses the campus site. On Sunday – rain or shine – join us for the first Falls Church Women’s History Walk!

Monday: Monday will be a busy evening – in recognition of April as Child Abuse Awareness Month, we will be “planting” a pinwheel garden at Cherry Hill Park at 7 pm, preceding our regular City Council meeting. We are working to raise awareness about the safety and well-being of children. Members of the community are invited and encouraged to wear blue, the official color of child abuse and neglect prevention. The pinwheel is the symbol of child abuse prevention and reflects childhood hope, health, and happiness.

Monday’s agenda is packed – most notable on the agenda is “first reading” on the budget, CIP, and setting the maximum tax rates to be advertised before the final vote on April 24 (after first reading, rates can be lowered, but not increased.) This is also a key public comment opportunity on the budget, so email us or come and speak at 730 pm.

Thank you for all of the thoughtful comments and questions I’ve received so far – look forward to hearing from you.



What Happened This Week:

Budget Open House – if you couldn’t make the open house on the budget this week, you’re in luck – FCC-TV was there recording the event. Watch interviews with each city department (such as Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Police, Economic Development, Library…), their key services, and budget priorities on YouTube – learn where your tax dollars go!

City Council Work Session

Budget – We had our first work session and Q&A of the budget. Again, recall that the City Manager is proposing a 4 cents real estate tax increase (1 cent to fund the School Board’s operating budget request and 3 cents for capital reserves to start saving for the GMHS project and borrow less in the future) and a 1% increase in the transient occupancy tax, levied on hotel guests, as a source of funding to improve the downtown commercial district. Overall, the proposed total budget is growing 2.5%.

The full 300 page budget book is available here: http://www.fallschurchva.gov/1501/Budget-Capital-Projects

Especially useful sections: the City Manager’s Message (page 3), how the budget addresses the budget guidance we issued last year (page 9), summary of the revenues and expenses at the department level with actuals and proposed (page 39), CIP projects (page 249).

Mt Daniel – The superintendent and School Board chair also attended our meeting and gave an update on Mt. Daniel. City and School staff have been working to resolve the $2.6M higher price than originally proposed, so staff is recommending deferral of the final vote on appropriating the additional amount until April 10.

Both budget and Mt. Daniel are topics are on Monday’s agenda for our regular meeting.

Broad and Washington Project Proposal – this week, the city also received a revised application for a redevelopment project for the key corner in the city, Broad and Washington. Staff has not yet done a formal review yet to provide us comments. At a glance, the project proposes a mixed use project with 66K square feet of office, 26K square feet of ground floor retail (including a space for Creative Cauldron to relocate) and 292 apartments. We’ve invited the developer to give a presentation to the full Council at our April 3rd work session, which is open to the public.













What’s Coming Up (budget-related meetings in blue):

  • Today, March 24 – GMHS Economic Working Group (730 am, City Hall Dogwood Room)
  • Sunday, March 26 – Falls Church Women’s History Walk (2-5 pm)
  • Monday, March 27 – Pinwheel Garden Planting at Cherry Hill to recognize April as Child Abuse Awareness Month (7 pm)
  • Monday, March 27 – City Council Meeting – Budget Hearing (730 pm)
  • Sunday, April 2 – Budget Town Hall #2 (3 pm)
  • Monday, April 3 – City Council Work Session – CIP Review & Broad and Washington Presentation (730 pm)
  • Monday, April 10 – City Council Meeting – Budget Hearing (730 pm)
  • Monday, April 17 – City Council Work Session – Budget Review (730 pm)
  • Monday, April 24 – City Council Meeting – Budget Adoption (730 pm)