- Saturday, April 8 – 9-10 am – Cafe Kindred
- Thursday, April 20 – 830-930 am – Rare Bird Coffee
At the planting, we also announced a community workshop on Tuesday, April 25 at 630 pm (City Hall) – hosted by the City of Falls Church, SCAN, Darkness to Light, and We Support the Girls. The workshop is for adults to learn how prevent and recognize child sexual abuse and react responsibly. It’s a free event, but registration is required by email.
Throughout the month of April, I’ll be posting facts and tips on my Facebook page to raise awareness about both causes. Stay tuned!
- Congressman Beyer legislative update- video
- Deferred to 4/10 City Council Meeting:
In the year 2040, the City of Falls Church is a welcoming and inclusive community – a special place in the heart of Northern Virginia. Involved citizens are key to the City’s long-term success as a leader in education, environmental sustainability, multi-modal transportation, and vibrant economic development. By investing in neighborhoods, community services and facilities, schools, and parks the City preserves small-town character and history while honoring a deep commitment to progress and a growing community. The continual rejuvenation of robust commercial areas supports the City’s high quality of life for all citizens.
- Budget First Reading Votes:
You may have already read that we voted to grant “first reading” for the $88.5M operating budget, $1.315 to $1.355 real estate tax rate increases, the CIP, and increase from 7% to 8% for the transient occupancy tax (aka, hotel tax). For those of you new to the budget process – Monday’s first reading vote is a preliminary budget vote. It enables us to formally schedule and advertise public hearings for April 10th and April 24th to hear comments from citizens and schedule adoption on April 24th.
Letty’s thoughts: We are 3 weeks away from a final vote that will approve the budget and set tax rates. An important clarification: by law, after first reading, the budget and tax rates we adopt can be lowered, but cannot be increased. As such, I voted for the budget package as proposed to allow us the flexibility to hear from citizens on your priorities. One theme that I have consistently raised is balancing short and long term needs, especially as it relates to CIP projects like the GMHS campus. The analogy I referenced on Monday night is saving for college and making that financial investment in the face of uncertainty. We know we have a kid going to college in the near future. We may not know which school yet and therefore how much it will cost, but we know a range. Specific to GMHS – with the various working groups underway, we understand the range of costs for the options on the table, we have enrollment forecasts vs capacity constraints, and we understand the current conditions and maintenance challenges. We can’t pretend the GMHS costs aren’t coming. And even with maximum economic development, we also know that renovations or a newly constructed school won’t be free. No one likes more taxes, but I do support bolstering our reserves for that looming cost, especially if it means we’ll ask for less later and future tax rate increases can be slowly phased in. However, I stated that 3 cents towards reserves feels like too big of an ask at this time.
An priority important to me that is not being funded in the proposed FY18 budget is Neighborhood Traffic Calming. As I’ve been a proponent of funding traffic calming especially as we continue to develop the commercial areas – I probed into how we will address NTC this year. The City Manager clarified that the $200K we appropriated from the reserves overage at the end of 2016 actually will be spent in FY18. The money is expected to cover projects on N. Maple and ped crossings at Lincoln and N. West. For FY19+, staff is submitting grant applications to address a bundle of requests next in the queue. A common question is how we can achieve greater throughput. The constraint is not only more money in the budget for the physical traffic calming solutions, but also more or re-allocated staffing to handle the project management, engineering, contracts, etc.
So between now and April 24th – we want to hear from you! You can email us, come to Sunday’s town hall, or the public hearings on April 10th and 24th. Do you think we should increase the real estate tax rate by 1 cent to fund the requested school operating budget? And 3 additional cents to go into reserves for GMHS? What needs would you like to see funded?
What’s Coming Up:
(budget-related meetings in blue, with links to more info where available)
- Today, March 31 – GMHS Economic Working Group (730 am, Dogwood Room)
- Sunday, April 2 – Budget Town Hall #2 (3 pm, City Hall Council Chambers)
- Monday, April 3 – City Council Work Session – CIP Review, Miller House, & Broad and Washington Presentation (730 pm, Dogwood Room)
- Wednesday, April 5 – Future W&OD bridge over Lee Hwy (6-8 pm, Yorktown High School)
- Saturday, April 8 – Letty’s Office Hours (9-10 am, Cafe Kindred)
- Monday, April 10 – City Council Meeting – Budget Hearing (730 pm)
- Monday, April 17 – City Council Work Session – Budget Review (730 pm)
- Thursday, April 20 – Letty’s Office Hours (830-930 am, Rare Bird Coffee)
- Monday, April 24 – City Council Meeting – Budget Adoption (730 pm)