Falls Church News Briefs

Fairfax Co. Budget to Increase Tax Rate by 5 Cents

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors “marked up” their budget for Fiscal Year 2011 today, having settled on a real estate tax rate of $1.09 per $100 of assessed valuation, or a five cent increase over this year’s rate.

For the average homeowner, the increase is more than offset by a drop in assessed values, such that there will be a net reduction in the tax bill of $26.93. The budget also establishes a $33 per vehicle registration license fee. The final adoption of the budget will occur next Tuesday, April 27. The FY 2011 plan marked up by the board provides for a balanced budget based on a General Fund Revenue reduction of 2.31 percent from the FY 2010 Adopted Budget Plan. General Fund Disbursements are projected to total $3.31 billion, a decrease of $92.2 million or 2.71 percent from the FY 2010 Revised Budget Plan. Excluding adjustments in the current fiscal year, the actual decrease from the FY 2010 level is $22.3 million or 0.67 percent from the FY 2010 Adopted Budget Plan. The deep economic recession, which officially began in December 2007, continues to present significant challenges to the county, officials stated.


F.C. Awaits Supreme Court Ruling on Land Case

Following the completion of oral arguments last week, a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court is expected in early June concerning the lawsuit brought by the Columbia Baptist Church of Falls Church against the City of Falls Church, its City Council and its Planning Commission. The case grew out of a decision by the F.C. Planning Commission to deny a request by the church to consolidate seven lots that it owns into a single lot at Maple Avenue and N. Washington Street. The denial came in November 2007 because the church’s plan did not preserve three of the lots that contain historic homes built prior to 1910, and therefore it violated the City’s Historic Conservation Ordinance. Three trustees of Columbia Baptist, Katherine E. James, T. David Stoner and Brent Walker, then filed a lawsuit against the City in the Arlington County Circuit Court, seeking a reversal of the Planning Commission’s decision. However, when the trial commenced in October 2008, Judge William T. Newman, Jr., dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice because, he stated, Columbia Baptist failed to satisfy its burden of proof to show that the Planning Commission denial was “not properly based on the applicable ordinances or was arbitrary and capricious.” Columbia Baptist then filed an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court, and the case was heard last week. There are no requests for monetary damages in the case.


Tea Party to Target Connolly, Moran Unopposed by Dems

Rep. Gerry Connolly, seeking re-election to a second term as a Democrat representing the 11th Congressional District of Eastern Fairfax County, has made the list of four U.S. Senators and seven congressmen that the Tea Party Express has targeted for defeat this November, according to a report in the New York Times. In addition to Connolly, the Tea Party has targeted first-term U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello in southern Virginia. In the adjacent 8th District of Virginia, it was announced that no candidate has filed to challenge Rep. Jim Moran in a Democratic primary, therefore a scheduled June primary has been canceled.


Small Fire, Sprinklers Damage Read Building Units

A small fire caused little damage at the new Read Building in downtown Falls Church Saturday about 3 p.m., but it set off the building’s sprinkler system that led to significant damage in three apartment units, according to building owner Bob Young.


F.C. City Denies News-Press FOIA Request

A “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) request by the News-Press to obtain the police report of the death of a man on April 5 in Falls Church has been denied by the City Attorney. The request was made in order to examine an apparent discrepancy between audible-witness reports from citizens of up to 10 gunshots being fired and the ruling by Falls Church Police and the Northern Virginia Medical Examiner that the cause of death was suicide.


F.C. Wins National Financial Reporting Award

The U.S. Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA), based in Chicago, has awarded the City of Falls Church a certificate of achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, it was announced yesterday. The award was for the City’s comprehensive annual financial report, and specifically, it went to the Finance Division of the City’s Department of Administrative services, which is headed by John Tuohy. The award is described by the GFOA as “the highest form of recognition in government accounting and finance reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”


F.C.’s Tatianna Makes Ru Paul’s ‘Final Four’

The Falls Church City resident who has been a contestant on the second season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race airing this spring made it to the final four in the show aired last week before being eliminated. A Falls Church High School graduate, Joey S. competed as “Tatianna” on the show, and was profiled in a News-Press feature last month. He was praised by Ru Paul for bringing humor and good vibes to the show. The final three compete for the title in the season finale this Monday at 9 p.m. on the Logo cable channel.