Falls Church News Briefs

Kaine Cuts Will Cost F.C. Schools $465,825

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s proposed overall seven percent cut in state aid to local public school districts in the coming year will cost Fairfax County $48 million, and for the City of Falls Church, the school district will get $465,825 less than expected, according to F.C. school officials.

That cut is 14 percent below the approximately $5 million given annually to the Falls Church system, according to school public information specialist Karen Acar. F.C. Superintendent Dr. Lois Berlin will build in the cut to her proposed Fiscal Year 2010 budget that she will present to the School Board at its Jan. 13 meeting. In remarks to the News-Press Tuesday, Dr. Berlin said, “We can handle this. We saw it coming, and have developed scenarios for dealing with it.” The final vote on funding for the F.C. schools in the coming year is taken by the F.C. City Council at the end of April 2009.

F.C. Affordable Housing Plan Could Still Fly

Due to factors related to the national economic downturn, the Virginia Housing Development Authority has pushed back the deadline for accepting applications for its authorization of affordable housing tax credits. According to Carol Jackson, executive director of the Falls Church Housing Corporation (FCHC), it means that the FCHC’s project to build 174 affordable housing units in downtown Falls Church would still be viable to qualify for the tax credits if the project’s site plan can be approved by the F.C. Planning Commission in the next two weeks. When the deadline was Jan. 1, it appeared a Dec. 1 vote against site plan approval by the Planning Commission would kill the project’s chances. But new appointments to the Planning Commission were slated to be made by the F.C. City Council Dec. 30, and the new commission might reconsider.

Bulova Vs. Herrity Debate Set Jan. 15

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce will host a debate on Jan. 15 between the two candidates running for chair of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, it was announced Tuesday. Sharon Bulova and Pat Herrity, both currently members of the Fairfax board, will face off in the debate, which will precede the Feb. 3 special election. The chairman’s position will be vacated next week when Gerry Connolly officially resigns to be sworn in as the U.S. representative from the 11th Congressional District. Connolly won the congressional seat in the November general election, replacing Rep. Tom Davis, who chose not to seek re-election. The Bulova-Herrity debate will take place at the Ernst Cultural Center on the Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus at 10 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 15. The Fairfax Chamber is currently accepting reservations.

Gordon Begins Job at F.C. City Hall

Barbara Gordon officially began this Monday in her new role as the Director of Communications for the City of Falls Church. It marks Gordon’s third stint since the late 1980s as Falls Church chief public information officer, including one that included serving as an assistant city manager. She has also been executive director of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce. Beginning in 2001, she served as Communications Director for the City of Alexandria, and since 2005 has been Director of Communications for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, a coalition of 14 cities, counties and towns that includes Falls Church. Gordon will be working with Hyun June Lee in F.C.’s Communications Office. Lee operated as interim director of communications following the departure of Nicole Gobbo last summer.

Del. Scott: Rail to Dulles and Merrified ‘Shovel Ready’

Virginia Delegate Jim Scott, who represents the 53rd District that includes Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church, commented this week that both the Metro Rail to Dulles and the Gallows Rd. at Rt. 29 intersection development project are “shovel ready.” The term is in reference to national infrastructure projects that are ready to be built, and that could be the first targets of federal economic stimulus funds when President-elect Obama takes office on Jan. 20. Scott serves on the Tysons Task Force, which is planning the new shape Tysons Corner will take when the Rail to Dulles brings four new Metro rail stations to the area. He said that the debate over whether the rail will go above or below ground is “over,” driven by cost factors, with the above-ground option prevailing. Scott will join State Del. Margi Vanderhye and State Sen. Janet Howell at a town meeting this Saturday, Jan. 3, at 10 a.m. at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave. prior to the start of the Virginia legislative session in Richmond next week. He will join State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple for a town meeting at the Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St., on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 9:30 a.m.