Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

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Tuesday’s meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was filled with especially weighty issues, decisions in which had ramifications for the next 10 years – and beyond.

For starters, the Board adopted the county’s FY2012 budget, which reduces the residential real estate tax rate by two cents, from $1.09 to $1.07 per $100 valuation, and essentially holds steady the average taxpayer’s bill. The adopted budget maintains the school transfer at the FY2011 level, and maintains the $155 million per year School Bond program for school construction, renewals, and renovation. The Board also supports implementation of Full Day Kindergarten for those schools without it (all Mason District schools have full day kindergarten already), and identified existing funds that the School Board can reprioritize for the program. County employee compensation remains frozen, but the Board directed County Executive Anthony Griffin to review and identify funding that could be used for a one percent increase at Carryover in September. The budget was adopted by a partisan vote of seven yeas and three nays.

Also on Tuesday, the Board adopted a magisterial redistricting plan that realigns a few precincts to balance population growth. Mason District, among the smallest of the magisterial districts, added two precincts – Bristow precinct from Braddock and Walnut Hill 2 from Providence. The redistricting adds Annandale and Falls Church High Schools, and Annandale Terrace Elementary School, to Mason District, as well as the Providence Recreation Center. The United States Department of Justice must approve the plan for adherence to the Voting Rights Act. The new boundaries become effective immediately; voters will cast ballots this fall for candidates in their new districts.

Fairfax County lost a wonderful friend with the death last week of William “Will” Soza, who resided in McLean, but whose support for Mason District activities was incredible. Will was a Texan of modest means who became a certified public accountant and built an award-winning accounting/consulting company here in Northern Virginia. Will was a longtime member of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, and served on the boards of many non-profit organizations. What I remember most about Will is his incredible generosity – of spirit and of resources. I don’t recall ever seeing Will without a warm smile and open arms for those around him, whether you knew him or not. Will was the creative force behind the original Culmore Soccer Camp for youth; I still have the big $20,000 ceremonial check, signed by “William Soza, Treasurer,” that was presented on July 6, 2000 to support the first camp. Since then, the summer soccer camp has expanded and serves boys and girls of many ages. Will was one of the founders of Security One Bank, now John Marshall Bank, which was created to provide banking and credit accounts for an underserved population in Bailey’s Crossroads. Virginia Governor Tim Kaine was present at the bank’s grand opening on Columbia Pike, a tribute to Will’s statewide reputation as an outstanding businessman and corporate citizen. Everybody loved Will, and he returned the favor a thousand-fold. Vaya con Dios, my friend.

 


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]