News Briefs

Brief tidbits of news from the Greater Falls Church area concerning govermental issues, including:

Thorpe Asks Council to Mull New School Budget Policy

Falls Church City Attorney Roy Thorpe Monday proposed to the F.C. City Council that it consider a charter change that would have a profound impact on how the School Board expends its annual resources. Unlike the rules for the City’s operating budget, the School Board has had the ability to carry over revenue surpluses from one fiscal year budget into another. There was even a problem in recent years when $4 million of such surpluses fell into an off-budget account. Monday, amidst a set of proposed charter changes, Thorpe asked the Council to consider bringing the School Board budget rules in line with the City’s. It means that any surplus in the budget at the end of the fiscal year must be designated to a fund balance which can be used only for one-time expenditures, and not carried over into the operating budget of the subsequent year.

F.C. Council Begins Televising Work Sessions

For the first time this week, Falls Church Cable TV was present at a work session of the Falls Church City Council, taping the proceedings for airing at a later date. The videotaping and playing of the sessions were agreed to by Council members earlier this year in an attempt at better public disclosure of their work. Many times, prospective legal actions taken at regular Council business meetings are fleshed out in greater detail at work sessions. The sessions will be aired on Falls Church Cable TV at noon on the Fridays following each Monday (or sometimes Tuesday) work session, beginning this week.

F.C. Targets for Storm Water Repairs Identified

Four areas in the City of Falls Church have been identified for storm water management improvements, the F.C. City Council learned at its work session Monday night. Kent Street, the Highland Avenue and N. West Street intersection, the Douglass Avenue and Katie Court area and South Spring Street have been singled out for priority attention. Undersized pipes, aging infrastructure and insufficient inlets were identified as general problems, in addition to increased impervious surfaces upstream from Falls Church.

F.C. City Hall Renovation Study to Be OK’d

This Monday the Falls Church City Council is expected to approve funds not to exceed $289,450 to retain the firm of PSA-Dewberry Inc. for a feasibility study of sweeping improvements in the Falls Church City Hall building. Among the biggest concerns is overcrowding in the police department, which is housed in the building, along with general security issues. Also, as the Council chambers are used for general district court proceedings during weekdays, judges have issued formal complaints that there is insufficient space and security provision in the building. Council member Dan Maller stressed that the study should include an interface with the School Board to see if there could be an “integrated plan” to build something new that would consolidate space and office costs.

Fairfax Co. Reports ‘Safe & Sober’ Results

The Fairfax County Police Department’s 16-day “Safe and Sober” campaign in July netted 62 DWI arrests, 72 criminal arrests, 49 reckless driving charges, 220 speeding summonses, 89 no or suspended license charges and 407 miscellaneous traffic summonses, according to a report issues yesterday. Eleven officers participated. The operation included DWI checkpoints and alcohol stings involving underage cadets attempting to purchase alcohol from a variety of establishments. “There are 17,000 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. each year, and 19 in Fairfax County in 2006,” a spokesman noted.

Repaving on Route 29 to Be at Night

The City of Falls Church announced that a routine repaving of Washington St. (Rt. 29) between Columbia and Annandale Road will be done between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Sunday, August 12 through Wednesday, Aug. 15. One lane in each direction will remain open during those hours.