September 27 – October 3, 2007
Transportation Solutions Said Key to Regional Growth
Fairfax County Chair Gerry Connolly, addressing 550 attendees at the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors’ 11th annual Economic Summit at George Mason University Sept. 20, said that two million new people are expected to come to the area in the next few years, and that the area must correct the “automobile dependence” that has built it to date. He outlined the county’s current road widening and Metrorail extension plans. Freddie Mac chief economist Dr. Frank Nothaft said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the condition of the national housing market based on the Fed’s recent interest rate cut and the expectation of another one this year. The sub-prime crisis and foreclosure cases effect major metropolitan cities the most, he said. “We never want to see a family be unable to stay in their home,” he said, “But the two biggest reasons that problems arise are from unexpected unemployment or an illness or death in the family.” Those two factors accounted for two-thirds of hardship reasons cited for delinquent mortgage payments, he said. Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, said that “strong fundamentals” help insulate the Northern Virginia economy. “There is a cure underway,” he said. “The Fed’s action will generate confidence in the market, and we will see the changes.”
Sales Tax Holiday on ‘Energy Star’ Products Due
From Friday, Oct. 5, to Monday, Oct. 8, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has declared a sales tax holiday on purchases of certified energy efficient products. So-called “Energy Star”-qualified products meet strict energy efficient criteria, such as using 30% less energy without sacrificing features, style or comfort. They’re set by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some products, like fluorescent lamps, save as much as 80%. During the tax holiday period, consumers can visit local retailers and save both on federal and local sales taxes on “Energy Star” products that cost $2,500 or less. Among the products are certain ceiling fans, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), dehumidifiers, dishwashers, programmable thermostats, refrigerators, room air conditioners and clothes washers. In addition to the tax holiday, consumers can save money with federal tax credits on doors, windows and other energy-efficient products. More information is available at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.
Fairfax County Fuel & Crisis Assistance Programs Outlined
Fairfax County residents who need help paying home heating bills or who face an emergency heating situation this winter may be able to access assistance from two federally-funded programs locally administered by the county’s Department of Family Services. Applications for assistance with the costs of heating their homes for eligible low-income households are being accepted on Tuesday, Oct. 9, until Friday, Nov. 9. Applications for crisis assistance for such things as repair or replacement of heating equipment will be accepted from Nov. 1, 2007 to March 30, 2008. For details or to have applications mailed, call (703) 324-7604.
Correction: No Owner Agreement on Housing Plan
The owner of properties on the southeast side of the intersection of Annandale Road and S. Maple notified the News-Press this week that he did not agree to a plan floated by the Falls Church Housing Corporation for an affordable housing structure on that site, as reported in the July 19, 2007 News-Press.