Falls Church News Briefs

F.C. FY11 Capital Plan Decoupled from 4 Later Years

Departing from long-standing tradition, the Falls Church City Council determined Monday to decouple its capital improvements funding plan (CIP) for the coming FY2011 fiscal year from the four “out years” through 2015. CIPS plans are usually voted on in five-year segments.

But this year, the move was aimed at providing the maximum flexibility for the Council to revise its plans for future years given the extreme uncertainty facing the wider economy and the City’s fiscal condition. For the coming year’s CIP budget, the Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance limiting spending to monies available through federal and state grants, and to local funding matches required to activate those grants. All other components of the capital fund for FY2011 were officially defunded tonight in accordance with an earlier-devised plan to free up cover $4.6 million to restore the City’s depleted fund balance. The Council referred a draft resolution on capital funding for FY2012 through FY2015 to the Planning Commission, pending a final adoption on May 24. The Council slated a work session for tonight to mull its CIP options in more detail.


Shields: More Fed $ May Be Available

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields reported to the City Council Monday that a meeting last week with the City’s financial advisers revealed that there may be considerable opportunities between now and the end of the current calendar year to apply for large sums of federal funds support that could cause the Council to adjust the timing of some of the major capital improvement programs, including especially educational facilities. In addition to funds to construct a new school, indicated at $30 million in FY2015, the CIP plan also includes $11.5 million for City Hall improvements deemed essential for the effective functioning of the Police Department and the court, including court security provisions, now operating at City Hall.


F.C. Citizen Resigns From EFC Task Force

Falls Church City resident Don Rea wrote to the F.C. City Council last week announcing his resignation from the East Falls Church Planning Study Task Force, and he urged the City to withdraw from all participation with the effort. Rea cited his opposition to plans to radically limit public parking at the East Falls Church Metrorail station, revising WMATA’s call for spaces for 1,000 cars (compared to 422 now) to options of either 0 or 200. The station’s use is expected to increase dramatically when it becomes the transfer station for the new Silver Line through Tysons Corner in three years. The few parking slots there would result in increased auto use, Rea argued.


Lippman Lashes Out At Low Voter Turnout

In comments at Monday’s Falls Church City Council meeting, F.C. Vice Mayor Hal Lippman, who lost a bid for re-election in the City’s City Council election last week, lashed out at the citizens of Falls Church for the fact that only 24 percent of registered voters made it to the polls for the election on May 4. “I am appalled by the low turnout,” he said. “It is an embarrassment to the City. I am utterly puzzled at the 75 percent of registered voters who didn’t vote.” He noted that a May 2008 election that included a referendum on City Center development drew only 30 percent, but that two years later, with the economy in the tank requiring a major tax rate increase, the turnout was even less. Lippman noted that the four Council members elected Tuesday won with 15 percent of the total votes cast in the election.


F.C. Police Arrest Man Loitering Near Schools

tjsuspectCity of Falls Church Police Monday arrested and jailed a homeless man identified as Paul Grimm for violating an order prohibiting him from entering all Falls Church Public School Buildings, others schools located in the City, City parks, the Community Center and the library. The man had been seen loitering around the Thomas Jefferson Elementary and St. James Schools on numerous occasions last week. He was picked up and extensively interrogated by F.C. police Friday night, but released with the banning order. But Sunday, when he was discovered in the Cavalier Trail Park, he was cited, and today, he was found in the Big Chimneys Park and arrested. F.C. Police have indicated the man is expected to be released from jail later this week, and have advised citizens to not approach him, but to call police immediately if they see someone fitting his description acting suspiciously. He is described as a white man in his 40s, 5 ft. 10 in. tall, with a beard and receding hairline. He was last seen wearing sunglasses, a dark jacket, dark pants, dark shoes, and carrying a dark backpack. Police can be contacted at 703-241-5050 or at 911.


F.C. EDA Awards to Tinner Hill Fete, FIRSTfriday

Falls Church’s Tinner Hill Foundation and FIRSTfriday were awarded grants last week from the City of F.C.’s Economic Development Authority for publicity and marketing of their public events. Tinner Hill was awarded $3,000 for its third annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival, a four-day music and cultural celebration slated for June 10-13. FIRSTfriday was awarded $6,000 for its events on the first Friday of each month.


Moran to Speak at Mason H.S. Graduation

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, will be the keynote speaker at the George Mason High School commencement ceremonies on June 17 at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., it was announced last week. It will mark the first time that Moran, known for his fiery speeches especially on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, has addressed a GMHS graduation since he was first elected to represent the 8th District 20 years ago.