Letter to the Editor: Ideas For Budget Surplus


According to an article on the proposed cut in property taxes, it was noted that the City is “awash in cash.” I have a few ideas for how the money could be put to good use for all the residents, not just homeowners.

I’ve been living in the City since 2000. Since the Great Recession’s belt-tightening, we lost a full-time Fire Marshall, and along with that, bi-annual inspections of all apartment complexes to ensure residents have safe living conditions. Let’s reinstitute that process.

Let’s create a Chief Accessibility Office, or similar, with a charge to make sure that residents with mobility issues are taken into consideration in physical infrastructure. Require the head of that office to traverse our sidewalks using a walker and a wheelchair, especially in wet or icy weather, so they can understand how dangerous the “pretty” brick walks are for all but the most able-bodied, especially when bricks pop out. Or see how hard it is to get around on sidewalks narrowed by outdoor dining spaces. There are some stretches where sidewalk width no longer meets ADA requirements for wheelchair access. Improve the lighting along N. Maple, N. Lee, and N. Oak, which are almost pitch black after dark.

That office should also assign one or more staff to drive around the City and check for all the bushes and trees encroaching on already narrow sidewalks. Give property owners, business and residential, one written warning to trim the foliage, and follow up 48 hours later. If needed, trim the offending foliage and bill the owner. That will be an incentive to do the work themselves in the future, plus it will actually clear the walks.

Chris Raymond
Falls Church