Around F.C.

Ambitious 6-Year CIP Agenda for F.C. Proposed

The Falls Church City Council is mulling dipping into its abundant capital reserves to help fund its annual Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the first time ever this year, although the fund will not dip below official City policy levels and will be fully restored within just a few years, it was told this week.

The anticipated drawdown will be $860,000 in the coming fiscal year, and an additional $10.6 million will be extracted in the next five years. But additions to the fund are projected to roughly equal the drafts so that by Fiscal Year 2030, the fund’s ending balance should be $12,630,377 compared to $12,930,927 now. 

In a presentation by Deputy City Manager Cindy Mester and City Grants Manager Caitlin Sobsey, a six year CIP plan through Fiscal Year 2029 will come in at $154 million, including $25 million for work funded by the General and School funds, $93 million for transportation, $24 million for the sewer utility and $12 million for stormwater improvements. 

The funding sources will be $81 million from grants, $21 million pay-as-you-go, $26 million debt financed and $12 million from the capital reserve (with $14 million as yet unfunded).

Completed projects include the S. Washington St. Transit Plaza, the S. Washington at S. Maple Ave. intersection, the Great Falls at Little Falls, S. Oak and S. Lee and Lawton Street neighborhood traffic calming (NTC) projects, the installation of 139 LED street lights, 3.1 miles of sanitary sewer line pipes relined, 22,595 square yards of asphalt repaving, and the new Wren’s Branch installations (290 feet of new pipe installed, 152 feet of pipe replaced, two curb inlets, one catch basin and one manhole installed). The Citywide sanitary sewer rehab lining effort is now 64 percent complete.

F.C.’s Grants Manager Caitlin Sobsey (center) talks with Chief Financial Officer Kiran Bawa (right) during Monday’s City Council work session on the proposed Capital improvements budget for the coming fiscal year. (News-Press Photo)

Active projects using prior year funds are focused on delivering $67 million total project investments, including $47 million for transportation, led by $17 million for the West End Revitalization District and $11,113,340 for S. Washington Planning Opportunity Area (POA), and $12,642,000 for the Stormwater Utility. There is funding for the Fire station 6 Bay Door Replacement, Oak Street Elementary Front Entrance Security, new Community Center HVAC and generator, and for improvements on the Fellows Property and the park master plan (including court light replacements).

There is the Greenway Downs NTC (federal grant funded), the Park Avenue Great Street project, 60 percent completed design with construction to proceed ni April 2026 and completed in December 2028. The stormwater projects are being advanced with federal and state American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) grants, with projects to be completed next year at N. Washington and Columbia, the S. Oak Street bridge replacement, the West Falls Church pipe bursting project and stormwater improvements at the Trammel Branch, Hillwood #1 and Upper Lincoln sites. 

Slated for completion in FY25 are the W&OD trail crossings, Berman Park, and Sherrow and Hillwood #2 stormwater improvement sites.

New projects due to come on line the next two years are a S. Washington bus stop expansion and access to transit (with a $6.3 million SmartScale grant) for the relocation of two existing bus shelters and six new bus shelters, the Sherrow Ave. bridge replacement, N. Washington St. multimodal improvements (with a $22.5 million Northern Virginia Transportation Authority grant) and the “Greening of Lincoln Ave.” stormwater project.

The highlights of the coming fiscal year are 1. A strong emphasis on environmental sustainability and community resilience, 2. $200,000 annually for replacing fleet and heavy machinery, 3. A $600,000 grant for electric or hybrid vehicles for the Department of Public Works, with 10 charging stations, and $9.3 million for the purchase of additional treatment capacity for wastewater from Fairfax County.

Federal and state funds are being leveraged, $1.5 million federal and $3.5 million state funds for multimodal transportation improvements, $4 million in earmarked state funds for stormwater remediation, $6 million in federal funds being sought for affordable housing and transportation, and more than $2 million being sought to supplement existing transportation projects.