It was a relatively slow meeting week (City Council does not meet when there is a 5th Monday in the month) so updates will be briefer this week. Make sure you mark your calendars for the budget meetings and town halls schedule below.
What Happened This Week:
EDA (Economic Development Authority) Meeting, one of the 20 citizen volunteer Boards & Commissions. There was a robust agenda on the EDA’s agenda this week:
- Assistant City Manager provided an update on the proffer legislation that the Virginia General Assembly is taking on.
- Discussion on the Downtown Public Plaza/pocket park (currently in the CIP that the Planning Commission passed recently).
- The City’s marketing efforts to attract and retain businesses, similar to the preview I saw last week. Go check out choosefallschurch.com!
- Schedule updates for the 301 W. Broad (Harris Teeter opening this July) and Lincoln at Tinner Hill (Fresh Market – Sept 2016)
- Tax incentive programs to encourage commercial development. We currently have two programs – the “tech zone” and commercial property rehab – that have been in place for nearly 20 years and in need of updates. The goals are to encourage more technology sector businesses to come to Falls Church and increase high quality office space. I support the goals of both of these programs – as long as we’re prudent in the the financials, I think abating a small percentage of taxes to attract businesses will make Falls Church more competitive with neighboring counties and business-friendly which is important for the long term financial health of the City. Lots of discussion on the revisions needed, and the EDA will revisit in a month before sending recommendations to City Council.
Side note – why is commercial development and activity important? The most common answer is that commercial development and more businesses diversify our tax base, which is true. The other key reason is that a strong commercial base also brings daytime workers and foot traffic, which developers have cited as a prerequisite to attract and sustain the kind of retail and dining we have heard residents say they want in Falls Church.
What’s Coming Up
Budget! With the School Board passing their budget this week, the schools part of the budget is handed off to the City Manager, who is obligated to include it the overall budget, set to be presented to City Council on Monday, March 14. After that, there will be ample opportunity for the community to learn and discuss the budget:
- City Manager Presents Budget and CIP at City Council Regular Meeting
March 14, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Council Chambers, City Hall
- Town Hall Meeting: Open House on Budget and CIP
March 19, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Teen Center, Community Center
- Budget Discussion at City Council Work Sesssion
March 21, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Dogwood Room, City Hall
- Public Hearing #1 at City Council Regular Meeting
March 28, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Council Chambers, City Hall
April 4, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Dogwood Room, City Hall
April 9, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Teen Center, Community Center
April 11, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Council Chambers, City Hall
April 18, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Dogwood Room, City Hall
April 25, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM @ Council Chambers, City Hall
Next week’s City Council meeting – Monday, March 7. The agenda is not yet officially posted, but we are expected to have a joint discussion with the Planning Commission on the West Broad Area Plan, followed by work session on the W&OD Master Plan, marketing efforts for economic development, Winter Hill Parking Program, and the Council Work Plan based on the priorities discussed at our retreat 2 weeks ago.