Letters to the Editor: September 18 – 24, 2014
Still Need Answers On Capital Improvement Plan
Further to last week’s Guest Commentary concerning the Capital Improvement Plan, I’d like to focus on a couple of questions: Fundamentally, where are real estate tax rates headed?
We’re not opposed to government spending, but we do want more background on the decision we’re being asked to make on the upcoming referendum proposing a $15.6 million bond: What will the carrying costs of this and the other ambitious plans for school building be? What funding is planned for other public services that are in clear need of additional investment? To what extent will these costs be offset by the various development projects going on around town now and that are with some confidence anticipated? What does the Council project the tax rate to be in five years, and how was that projection calculated?
I don’t believe I can support the referendum without reasonably thoughtful and detailed information on these questions, and the City Council’s reticence in providing us with relevant projections is troublesome.
Concerned Referendum Will Increase F.C. Taxes
I certainly understand the argument of fairness presented by Tooren and Barry in the Sept. 11-17 issue. However, I would point out that when I was in K – 12, the cost of my schooling was shared by many within the County who had no children in school. The same was true when my children were in K – 12 and is now true for my grandchildren. So just maybe it is my turn to help share the load of public education for the next generation. Perhaps the schools do need improvement – I have no way of assessing this need but think it should be reviewed by a panel of independent experts.
On the other hand, I am much more concerned that this bond issue will certainly increase our taxes which are already excessive relative to surrounding counties and cities. According to my recent real-estate tax bill, my tax rate in the City of Falls Church is $1.305 per $100.00 of assessed value. According to the web, the rate in Arlington Co. is $1.021, in Fairfax Co. is $1.090, and in City of Fairfax is $1.04. These are 27.8%, 19.7% and 25.5% lower rates, respectively, than I am paying in Falls Church City.
Consequently, I propose we place a referendum on the ballot to merge the school system, library system and all the services of Falls Church City with those of Arlington County, send elected officials from the “Little City” to help Arlington Co. run the Little City and get accustomed to reduced tax bills! (Details of such an audacious proposal would be worked out by our City Leaders.)
Furthermore I am convinced that, because of aging, this is just the first of several larger capital improvements that the infrastructure of the Little City needs. Already mentioned are: a new library, a new city hall and office space, and improvements in the storm sewer system.
How many votes do I get to distribute these costs over a much larger base and enjoy a reduced tax bill?
Via the Internet
Vote ‘No’ on School Referendum & Replace City Council
They’ve got to be kidding us… “it is predicted that it will take at least 20 years for all 12 classrooms to fill up in every grade.”
Meanwhile, your poll indicates 89% of respondents said cooling school enrollment in Falls Church City Schools is a good thing.
Obviously, City and School officials learned nothing from this year’s budget/tax assessment fight and think it is business as usual with their extravagant requests.
There are two things to be done to correct this situation:
1. Vote no on the school bond issue.
2. Replace current City Council members at the first opportunity with citizens who will independently vet the schools capital and expense requests and bring them in line with available funds from no more than modest tax increases.
Glad I Moved from F.C. Before All The Development
I recently returned for a visit to Falls Church after a couple years away, following decades of living there. I was shocked at the level of new development I found: Broad Street is becoming canyon-like and now has a skyline; there are deep holes in the ground for more large buildings where Anthony’s and the Saab dealer used to be; and I learned of plans for an enormous new development at the corner of West and Broad streets that would encompass retail, residential and even possibly a group of movie theaters.
Have the leaders and people of Falls Church lost their minds? This building boom is destroying the character of the city that I and many other long called home. The outsized West and Broad development and the other projects will further snarl already bad traffic, add residential units that will surely put additional stress on the schools, and transform what was heretofore a lovely suburban village into something much more dense and urban.
This is not an improvement, and sadly, I found myself very glad we moved away when we did. Call me old-fashioned, but I definitely preferred the Little City when it was still a small town.
Broad-Rees Traffic Light Construction Going On 3+ Months
Over the course of three plus months, I must say that the blue Porta-Potty, construction cones, and piles of bricks (apparently permanently) situated at Broad and Rees Place has added to the overall ambience of the Little City. Perhaps the smallness of the City has made it impossible to install and activate a traffic light in under three months?
I hope someday to miss the Porta-Potty.
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