At its monthly board meeting this morning, the 15 members present of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse a “yes” vote on the $120 million Falls Church school bond referendum on the ballot next month. Chamber executive director Sally Cole reported that almost the entirety of this morning’s meeting was devoted to a thorough discussion of the subject, based on the recommendation of the board’s Legislative Committee that it go on record in favor of a “yes” vote.
In a statement released by the Chamber board later this morning, it was stated that the passage of the bond referendum “will have a profound impact on the City of Falls Church,” adding, “The Chamber board believes the presence of a new, modern high school is very important to attract new business and new revenue to the City.” It continues, “A new high school would be more environmentally efficient, safer for teachers and students, be ADA compliant, and would help maintain or increase property values.” It noted that passage of the referendum “would enable up to 10 acres of the property to be developed for commercial tax generating purposes,” while, “on the other hand, incurring such debt is risky given economic uncertainties and doing so would necessitate significant increases in residential and commercial property tax rates.”
The lengthy statement notes that the Chamber’s mission “is to promote local business interests in order to foster economic prosperity and civic well-being in the greater Falls Church community,” noting, “One of the ways in which the Chamber advances its mission is by supporting business and community growth and development,” and then notes that none of the projected outcomes of the referendum’s passage next month “are not guarantees,” noting “there is risk to either outcome” of the passage or rejection of the referendum, but concludes, “What is certain is that there is significantly less, if any, opportunity for commercial development if the school is not replaced with a different footprint.”
The Chamber will host all the candidates for City Council qualified for the November 7 ballot in Falls Church at its monthly public luncheon next Tuesday, but is not expected to endorse candidates either for the Council or the School Board. Four seats on both the seven-member Council and School Board are being contested in the election.