Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Contributing to Development of Community

During my four year tenure on council the city has faced some tough challenges in the recent past but I wanted to take a few moments to address the citizens and let them know that it has been a great pleasure to serve you in this capacity and I look forward to contributing further to the development of our community.

There have been many issues facing our jurisdiction such as: affordable housing, storm water management, and increased development in the city. While these outcomes have tested us as a community I believe they have also served as a compass to design the direction in which we would like to envision ourselves as a community. As the affordable housing dialogue continues, I feel this issue is near to my heart because I have family members who have taken advantage of such opportunities in their community. However, as a representative I had reservations because the council previously voted to move forward with this project under the notion that plans were negotiated and agreed upon which stated the financial obligation from the city would be used later in the process giving the city flexibility to perhaps weather a decline in revenue due to the economic climate.

Yet when the situation changed and the numbers provided by the City Manager did not look promising I could not put the future viability of the city in jeopardy. On the other hand, I supported the recent passage of utilizing a portion of the affordable housing fund to aid individuals with home ownership to allow up to five or six residence down payment and closing cost assistance. I also support the current work being done by the affordable housing taskforce which has been charged with rewriting the city policy to reflect the real goals the city may obtain. With that being shared, I will continue to work diligently to provide affordable housing options for residents in the City of Falls Church and the Greater Falls Church region.

I support the current work being done by the affordable housing taskforce which has been charged with rewriting the city policy to reflect the real goals the city may obtain.

During the last two years I have taken on the role of being a member of the council’s legislative committee whereas for the last eight years I have served on a state board working with members of both parties and wanted to take advantage of that access. This type of interaction allowed me to share our contributions with the leaders in Richmond and could help determine the revenue that should come back to help us achieve our goals. As a result of some of these efforts I had opportunities to meet with members from across the Commonwealth and limit some of the bad things that Richmond has a tendency to pass on.

Our educational system is one of the best in the region and I will work with the School Board to ensure our jurisdiction continues to remain a top competitor. Through tough economic times we must work collaboratively to make sure adequate funding is available for our schools. Working in higher education for the last decade I observe firsthand how students coming from well funded schools versus underfunded schools are prepared for the challenges of college. This is why I have pushed for meetings between the schools and the city to discuss the issue of revenue sharing. This will provide the school system knowledge regarding their percentage and what they will be receiving in any given budget. Once the current budget is complete I will push to have the city manager and school superintendent work toward a formula to present to council and the public on how this will work. It is time to actively engage in this topic rather talking about it every year. This system has worked in Arlington for a number of years and I think that we should explore this as a way to help lessen the contention between the school and city government.
As a member of council I feel I’ve put forward what is best for the city and not what is politically correct. In the City of Falls Church, we have different viewpoints and I believe that I bring a new perspective to the way we do business.

I understand that some of us have not always seen eye to eye on a variety of issues but I would like each citizen to know that the decisions that I have made were for the sustainability of our “Little City.” Serving the citizens of Falls Church continues to be the most rewarding and hardest job that I have had the pleasure of demonstrating.

I am always open to hear from individuals on the many issues that we are facing in the city and look forward to working together with you to move our “Little City” forward.



Lawrence Webb is a member of the F.C. City Council and is running for re-election in May.