News

Falls Church News Briefs: July 23 – 29, 2009

F.C. Council Split, But Moving to Create Fiscal Board

 

Members of the Falls Church City Council were sharply divided in comments made at a work session this Monday, but appeared willing to move forward toward the formation of a volunteer Fiscal Affairs Advisory Board (FAAB) to elicit “big picture” forecasts from local residents with expertise in fiscal and financial matters.

F.C. Council Split, But Moving to Create Fiscal Board

 

Members of the Falls Church City Council were sharply divided in comments made at a work session this Monday, but appeared willing to move forward toward the formation of a volunteer Fiscal Affairs Advisory Board (FAAB) to elicit “big picture” forecasts from local residents with expertise in fiscal and financial matters. The City of Falls Church first established a Fiscal Advisory Board in 1990 but it was disbanded within a decade due to a loss of interest. City Manager Wyatt Shields said Monday, “We can all be proud of what we’ve done. We have a very high bond rating and our tax rate is below the average for the region. But there are big spending needs going forward, and we face big challenges. We could benefit from some expert input.” Vice Mayor Hal Lippman and Councilman Dan Maller were skeptical, however. Such a body “could be co-opted by people with a political agenda,” Lippman cautioned. “Besides, what’s broken that this is intended to address?” Maller added, “Bank accountants and bean counters should not determine the future of the City. They can make proclamations about what the future holds, but no one really knows.” Councilmen Dave Snyder, Nader Baroukh and Lawrence Webb said they favor the formation of the group. The Falls Church School Board went on record against creating a FAAB with a unanimous vote earlier this month.

 

Ordinance May Allow Fines for Failure to Remove Graffiti

 

The Falls Church City Council will consider a proposed anti-graffiti ordinance Monday that may include an option for fining a property owner who does not remove graffiti on his or her property in a timely fashion. According to the Falls Church Police Department, there were 124 cases of graffiti in the City last year, although none are considered gang-related, Chief Harry Reitze said. Currently, there is no requirement that building owners remove the graffiti, and the proposed ordinance Monday will include three options, including the City’s role in removing it and requiring the property owner to do so in a timely fashion. When perpetrators are caught, their court-mandated community service usually involves removing the graffiti. The graffiti needs to be removed promptly, Reitze said, because “graffiti begets graffiti.” If it stays for any length of time, it is more likely that more graffiti will occur. Gang-related graffiti, he explained, often involves rival groups writing over each others’ graffiti.

 

F.C. Police Dept. Hailed for Accreditation Report

 

Falls Church Police Chief Harry Reitze reported to the City Council Monday that the program manager handling the annual “verification of compliance reports” required to maintain Virginia law enforcement organization accreditations hailed the F.C. Police Department’s submission this year. Following a lapse, the Falls Church Police Department received a certificate of accreditation on July 21, 2008, and this summer received praise from the program manager for its first annual report. The Department’s Sgt. Pilar Uelmen was tasked with maintaining the documentation for the annual reports since the City’s department was re-accredited last year.

 

Falls Church Chef Debuts on ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ TV Show

 

Tennille Middleton, the executive chef of the Sweetwater Tavern on Gallows Road in Falls Church, made her debut Tuesday night in the season-opening episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox TV. Middleton scored points with the show’s principal, the uber-demanding Chef Gordon Ramsey, during the opening challenge to prepare her “signature” dish, but got in hot water when she allegedly undercooked some shrimp later in the show. “Hell’s Kitchen” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m.