Letters to the Editor: March 29 – April 4, 2018
Why Some on Council Are Trying to Restrain Spending
Regarding last week’s editorial on why several on the Falls Church City Council are especially focused this year on restraint in operating spending, let me share an excerpt from Council member Letty Hardi’s latest weekly update: “In a typical year – the budget debates center around organic revenue growth and how to split that revenue between general government and schools and how much, if any, additional revenue is needed through a tax rate increase.
“This year, we have strong revenue growth. However we are embarking on the first of a multi year capital plan with some large risks, a looming recession that many experts believe will happen in the next few years, the federal tax change reducing the SALT deduction, a rising interest rate environment, and WMATA needs in flux.
“Those continue to weigh on my mind as we review operating budgets. With tax rates already going up, I am sensitive to operating discipline that’s needed to ensure we can pull off this capital plan in an affordable way and find ways to help the at-risk part of our population.”
I would comment further:
When Letty cites the need to “help the at-risk part of our population,” she is referring to a conviction held by several of us on Council that the FY18-19 budget should if possible include new money for:
1. Expansion of property tax abatement and relief for our most vulnerable income-eligible senior citizens and disabled;
2. Allocating dollars to an affordable housing fund, an effort that needs to recur annually through at least 2026, when the 96 affordable units at The Fields would revert to market-rate unless we have money and a strategy to preserve them as affordable;
3. A more robust commitment to neighborhood traffic calming, to more speedily implement NTC measures on residential streets, especially those that are “safe routes to schools.”
A desire by several of us on Council to find money for those three items is one of the reasons why some of us on Council are so focused on prudently restraining operating spending — keeping faithful to the 2 percent guidance that Council approved on a 5-2 vote in December.
Falls Church City Council
F.C. No Longer Embracing Diversity, Only Wealthy
I totally agree with Mr. Scardino’s letter in the March 22-28, 2018 issue of the News-Press. Falls Church City is now already more expensive to live for homeowners than any other neighborhood jurisdictions. The city is no longer embracing the diversity rather only geared to wealthy professionals. I have lived in the city for more than 20 years, and saw all my neighbors, right and left-hand, cross the street, left and right either moved or retired and moved to other counties around. When the last one moved last year, he told me that I am a fool to live in the city and own my home to see the real estate tax increased every year when the budget increased, regardless the growth in commercial activities.
If the city officials/managers use the property assessment and rate increase, one or both, whenever the budget is increased, I will suggest that it is better for the city moving back to or merging with either Arlington or Fairfax county instead, they both have good services, schools and lower real estate tax.
Fixed-Income Citizens Being Driven Out of City of F.C.
Kudos, Mr. Scardino (Letters to the Editor, March 22-28, 2018 issue). You are correct, the taxes in Falls Church City are driving some of its citizens out of the City. The citizens who are on fixed incomes cannot afford to be “taken to the cleaners” by the high taxes.
Come election time, voters need to really think who they cast their ballot.
When Has Reducing Spending Been Known as Austerity?
So “Our Man in Arlington” Charlie Clark is labeling reductions in spending to such essential services as neighborhood colleges, media organizations, and something called a “highway reimagining process” as austerity?
I hate to think of what kind of terminology he would use if Arlington faced budgetary issues that would require hard decisions.
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