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Falls Church News Briefs

2nd F.C. City Public Budget Forum Set Tonight, Feb. 18

Following on an initial public forum last Saturday, the City of Falls Church will hold a second opportunity for a discussion of “Balancing Priorities” aimed at gleaning the citizens’ preferences for the combination of tax rate hikes and program cuts that will be required to close a major gap in the City’s budget.

Right now, the projected revenues to the City are 15 percent less than the expenditures for the current year. The discussion will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center, 223 Little Falls St. A report of last Saturday’s event is elsewhere in this edition.

 

Griffin Unveils Proposed Fairfax Co. Budget Tuesday

Fairfax County Manager Anthony Griffin will unveil his proposed budget for the coming Fiscal Year 2011 to the County Board at its meeting this Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. at the Board chambers in the Fairfax Government Center building, 12000 Government Center Dr., Fairfax. The presentation will be aired live on the county’s web site (www.fairfaxcounty.gov) and on Cox Cable Channel 16.

 

F.C. Schools Extend Elementary Hours

The Falls Church City Schools announced a revised schedule at its elementary schools with longer hours for the remainder of the school year to make up for lost classroom time due to the record snowfall in the region this year. Beginning Monday, Feb. 22, Mt. Daniel and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Monday-Friday hours will be 8:35 a.m.-3:35 p.m., with early dismissal Wednesdays (the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month) starting at the same time and going to 1:05 p.m. at Mt. Daniel and to 1:15 p.m. at Jefferson.

 

F.C. Mulls Outsourcing Trash Pick-Ups

At its work session Tuesday, the Falls Church City Council heard a set of fresh proposals for dealing with the City’s solid waste and recycling collections. Mayor Robin Gardner summed up the two hour discussion with a resolve to decide in time for the upcoming fiscal year budget whether a plan for outsourcing the collections will work, potentially at a savings of $200,000 a year for the revenue-strapped city. Three components of a new approach were presented by City Engineer Bill Hicks that included outsourcing, investing in uniform and efficient carts to encourage recycling, and an “Enterprise Fund” method of citizens paying directly for their solid waste disposal services. Gardner intimated that the “Fund” idea will take more time, and should not be done without ample public hearings and other solicitations of public opinion first. Bob Loftur-Thun, the citizen chair of Falls Church’s Environmental Services Council, spoke adamantly in favor of all three components of the proposed shift for representing “best practices” in a manner now operational in 6,000 U.S. cities.

 

Region Awarded New Transportation $

At yesterday’s regional Northern Virginia Transportation Planning Board meeting, chaired by Falls Church Councilman David Snyder, it was announced that the D.C. Metro Region won a national competition and has been awarded nearly $60 million to improve public transportation, including in Falls Church. Qualifying for the award “represents one of the most significant project planning efforts undertaken by the Washington Metro Region since the building of Metro rail,” Snyder, who was involved in the project, said. “This is a real win for regionalism and again shows what we can achieve when we work together. Falls Church will enjoy better regionally connected bus service. The project also begins to lay the foundation for a regional light rail system that would, in turn, also benefit Falls Church families and businesses.”

 

League Forum Set Feb. 23 on Census

The Falls Church Chapter of the League of Women Voters announced today that it will host a lunchtime discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 23 on the subject of this year’s Census. “Let Falls Church Be Counted: The Upcoming 2010 Census” is the subject of the meeting featuring Isabel Almendarez, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m. at Argia’s Restaurant, 124 N. Washington St. A cost of $15 covers lunch. Advanced reservations must be made to [email protected].

 

Recovery Act Helped Virginia, Report Says

According to a special report released yesterday on the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Virginia was a major beneficiary of $2 billion in direct aid provisions of the act. The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis issued the report in Richmond. Four of the act’s provisions in Virginia provided $484 million in unemployment benefits that helped 230,000 jobless workers, provided $307 million for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities that helped 1.2 million Virginians, and provided over $1 billion in direct, work-related support that helped over 3.8 million working Virginians, which includes nine out of 10 workers in the state’s labor force, according to the report.