Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpThe Mason District Police Station is well-known for its leadership opportunities for officers, whether rookie or veteran. Current Police Chief Ed Roessler was an assistant commander at Mason in the late 1990s, Deputy Chiefs Tom Ryan and Ted Arnn held several command postings at Mason, and former Deputy Chief Steve Sellers, later police chief in Albemarle County, also served at Mason. That tradition continues with the announcement of the promotions of Major Gun Lee to be Deputy Chief, and Captain Chantel Cochrane to Major. Lee had commanded the Patrol Bureau; Cochrane will move to that slot from her previous command at the Major Crimes Bureau. Congratulations to these remarkable public servants!

In January, I presented a resolution supporting ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Board of Supervisors, in anticipation of potential action by the Virginia General Assembly. While the Virginia legislature did not take action, another state’s legislature did. Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA, meaning that just one more state must ratify to meet the magic number of 38 (three-fourths of the 50 states must ratify amendments to the Constitution of the United States). There still is time for the General Assembly to make Virginia the historic 38th state to ratify ERA so, at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, I offered an updated resolution, supported by all ten board members, that reaffirms support for ratification, and urges delegates and senators to take action in the 2019 session, which begins in January. Wouldn’t it be terrific if Virginia, the Mother of Presidents, ratified the ERA, which supports not just mothers, but all women?

Also on Tuesday, the Board approved the FY2018 Carryover Package, an annual fiduciary responsibility that allocates undisbursed funds to reserves and critical programs. Per Board policy, 40 percent, or $23.26 million, of the balance is allocated to the county’s Revenue Stabilization Reserve and the Managed Reserve. Bond rating houses recommend that those reserves, ideally, should be at 10 percent; Tuesday’s action gets us within striking distance, to 8.82 percent. The Carryover Package also includes funding for an additional forestry crew in the Park Authority. Parklands have been hit hard by the emerald ash borer; three years ago, ash trees accounted for only 2.5 percent of removed trees; today, that number is 30 percent, a dreadful threat to the county’s forests. Funding for expanded School Age Child Care Programs (SACC) will increase before school SACC capacity at Columbia, Camelot, Woodburn Bren Mar Park, and Sleepy Hollow Elementary Schools, and after school SACC at Sleepy Hollow and Belvedere Elementary Schools in Mason District. A full listing of the Carryover package may be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/budget/fy-2018-carryover-budget-package.
The extremely popular semi-annual book sale, sponsored by the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library, begins today, and continues through Sunday. The library is located at 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. Sales on Sunday are half-price, an even better deal!


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.