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News Briefs

June 28 – July 4, 2007

Commercial Real Estate Taxes Could Soar in Fall

Virginia’s new “transportation funding implementation” law, going into effect July 1, authorizes local jurisdictions to raise the commercial real estate tax rate by up to 25 cents, although no decisions on that option will be made in the City of Falls Church until the fall. F.C.’s Assistant City Manager Cindy Mester reported this at Monday’s Council meeting, noting that in Falls Church’s case, if a decision were made to increase the tax to the maximum, from the current rate of $1.01 per $100 assessed valuation to $1.25, as much as $2.2 million could be generated for transportation improvements. Sally Cole, executive director of the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, said that her group will weigh in strongly on this matter as it moves to a City Council decision. Local jurisdictions can also choose to increase registration fees by another $10, which would raise $85,000.

 

Snyder: Keeping Metro Out of F.C. a “Missed Chance”

Veteran Falls Church City Councilman David Snyder, the City’s representative on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, assailed the efforts of City officials back in the 1980s aimed at keeping Metro Rail from its original plan to bring its Orange Line up the W&OD trail and locate a station at the intersection of the trail with W. Broad. “We missed our first chance by pushing for a Metro by-pass of the City, which may have seemed like the right decision at the time,” he said. But the new Virginia legislation permitting a menu of options for raising transportation improvement revenues “offers a second chance for the region,” he added. Saying “the only thing worse than taxes is a government that doesn’t work,” he hailed the vision underlying the new legislation that “focuses on infrastructure for the future, the way George Washington did in supporting a canal system, Lincoln did in supporting the transcontinental railroad, and Eisenhower did in supporting an interstate highway system.”

 

“Avoid Public Hearing If Possible,” City Manager Says

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields told the Falls Church City Council Monday that he will work “to avoid a public hearing, if possible” in order to expedite implementation of the controversial daytime construction in two heavily-trafficked blocks of W. Broad St. (Route 7) that he hopes will begin in two weeks. The project, aimed at undergrounding utility lines and adding streetscape, will close traffic going both directions on the street to single lanes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day for two months. Shields said that getting the work done in July and August, when traffic levels are lower, will be the best time. If, however, a public hearing is called on the merits of doing the work at day instead of at night, then the project may not start until September. He cited noise factors for nearby residents as the reason for not doing the work at night.

 

Neighborgall Tells WWII Story to Discovery Channel

Falls Church’s Roger Neighborgall will be interviewed by Flashback Television Ltd., of London, under contract to the Discovery Channel Cable TV, about his experiences as a highly-decorated veteran of the World War II Army Rangers. The public is invited to sit in on the interview, which will be taped at the Veterans Memorial in front of the Community Center on Monday, July 2, at 2 p.m. Neighborgall fought with the Rangers North Africa, Sicily, Italy, the invasion of Normandy and Germany.

 

F.C.’s Joe Pelletier Passes Away in Colorado

A 43-year resident of the City of Falls Church and long-time member of the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission, Joseph Pelletier died in his sleep at his home in Colorado, according to F.C. City Hall officials. Pelletier was a World War II veteran who landed at Normandy. The News-Press will secure a full obituary for next week’s edition.