Village News, 1/9/20

Dear West Springfield Neighbor / Friend,

Appreciate all who responded last week after receiving the enews. It is helpful to know that our email system is actually working – thanks to Bob Havey, our webmaster.

Rolling Road Phase 1 is Underway – Property acquisition for Phase One of the Rolling Road Widening Project is ongoing. Phase I is the improvement of the intersection at Rolling Road and Old Keene Mill Road that includes: adding a second left-turn lane on northbound (NB) Rolling Road onto westbound (WB) Old Keene Mill Road, extending the dedicated queue lane for right hand turns from NB Rolling onto EB OKM Road.

Phase II property acquisition should begin soon after they finish acquiring necessary property for PH I. PH II is the actual widening of RR to two lanes NB and two lanes SB with a 16’ raised median, left turn lanes (except into Ashford Court, Glover Court, Taft and Rivington), a standard sidewalk on the east side of RR and a 8 or 10’ multi-modal path (asphalt) on the west side. Utilities will have to move back toward homes, but will not be buried. If you are new to the village and/or need more information, look to our website ( or come visit with me to discuss the project.

Separate Yard Debris Collection – Republic’s last Wednesday for collecting yard debris 18 December 2019. They will resume Wednesday collections on 4 March. So? What do we do with all the filled bags with leaves now on the curbs? I suggest we first pull those bags back off the curb and out of the gutter splash. Knowing that Fairfax County burns our trash and by doing so – creates electricity – put a bag or two in with your household trash in the large toter that they collect on Mondays and Thursdays. That had been the plan back when we had a village agreement with them and they have not suggested a change. One neighbor was told that they would pick up yard debris on Thursdays, but I could not confirm that with their Customer Service Reps. If they did not pick up your bags today, suggest you help make electricity a bag or two at a time.

They said they would collect Christmas trees on Wednesday, 8 January (and they did) and again on 15 January 2020. We can only hope they will. 

More Community-Minded Neighbors to Thank! – I did forget last week to include Miss Julia Mast who volunteered to fill in for Mrs. Claus at the Christmas Party. And thanks again to those who delivered our 2019 Community Directories:  Wendi Dorey & Family, Jim Kirkpatrick, Andrea Lewis and her son Michael, Sue & Vince Trinka, Tim Royster, Julia Hale, Logan Mast, Ed Wyse, Kim Brown, Bernie Koehle, Kathy D’Amato, Glenn DeMarr, Liz Greene, Leanna Wilson, Carol Baccari, Maria Daugherty, Coleen Airgood, Kevin and Kirsten Higuchi, Felix and Valentin Bois, Lori Branch and her son Wes.

And, we should also thank Tim & Yee Peng Royster for their initiatives in our Home & Garden Show. Lastly, John Boynton (J&F Specialties) who volunteered his crews to help some residents with home projects that were beyond the homeowner’s capability. 

And now that my printer is TUID (not working), thanks to Mark Gregris for scanning and emailing time-sensitive CAWSV business requests and reports Similarly thanks to Tom Fowler for providing fax service for the CAWSV.

If you look over last week’s list and these above – I guarantee all listed also have full and busy lives, but found time to help our village. These lists also do not include many of you who help your neighbors without any expectation of pay or recognition. Overall, we have a good and cooperative community; right?

Next opportunity to serve will be toward the end of the month delivering directories door to door. You won’t have to knock on doors, instead we leave them near front door where they can be found, not blown away or rained on. It will probably take about an hour.

Real Estate / Mortgage News – Submitted by Sharon Kline (Ontario Street), Loan Officer (NMLS 1633338) with Allied First Bank SB, 703/615-1313,, -  In the real estate/mortgage world, 2019 will be remembered as the year mortgage rates persistently and unexpectedly declined. According to Freddie Mac data, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.9% during 2019, which is the fourth lowest annual average rate ever recorded since Freddie Mac started tracking rates in 1971.

Most housing authorities and financial experts predict mortgage rates will remain under 4% through 2020. However, many of the experts and authorities predicted rates would be in the 5% and higher range in 2019. Therefore, forecasting rates can be tricky.

Home prices are expected to continue rising in 2020. This will help create more home-equity wealth for homeowners, but it will have a negative effect on affordability for buyers.

If you are in the market to refinance or buy a home, keep in mind that rates are low right now. It is difficult to predict whether rates will increase or decrease in the future.

A Practical Approach to Decluttering & Right-Sizing – Free Seminar this Saturday, 11 January from 10 – 11 AM at the Rolling Valley Elementary School. Submitted by Tim Royster, Team Lead, REALTOR, U.S. Army Veteran, MRP, The Royster Hearth Group of Samson Properties,

Description: Are you trying to declutter but do not know where to begin? Are you thinking about right-sizing and moving but are overwhelmed by the process? Are you staying in place but you’re not sure what to do with all your stuff? Join us for an interactive talk on practical ways to help make decluttering, right-sizing and possibly moving less stressful. Topics include:

  • Dealing with the "overwhelming" task of addressing your clutter
  • How to decide what's truly important and let go of the things that are not
  • Simple systems and processes to help you stay organized and gain back control over time, space and stress.
  • How to make rightsizing as smooth as possible
  • Timeline for making the home sale process less stressful


          Caroline Warren | Professional Organizer

          Member of NAPO (National Assoc. of Professional Organizers)

          The Clutter Whisperers-CW Organizing Solutions,

Register by clicking here or call Tim Royster at 571/275-0871 to register! Come join us!  

Last About Selecting a Contractor – submitted by John Boynton (J&F Specialties), a Class “A” contractor, 703/913-3242 (Office) or 571/278-2710 (Cell),, John provided some additional insights and guidance to what we had reported from another General, Class “A” Contractor two weeks ago. John and I merged both, but highlighted John Boynton’s comments.

A contractor who works in Fairfax County must have a State and County License. In our area since Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford and other counties are close and contractors often cross over county lines - all they have to do is apply for the license in each county he wants to work. His / her home license will allow him/her to be issued a permit without a large fee. This depends on the type of license they have.  Each state contractor’s license has also a classification as to the trade such as BLD for building.  I can’t pull an electrical permit for example but can pull a building permit. If a contractor asks you, the homeowner to pull a permit from county - that should be a red flag that he or she may not have a license (homeowners should not pull permits). Agree 110%.

For your safety and economic security, check the license of a contractor. All are issued a pocket license, and confirm that the license indeed belongs to the proposed contractor. Some are known to “loan” their license to others. Also verify that the contractor is at the level needed (or above) for your job.

            "Class A contractors" perform or manage construction, removal, repair, or improvements when the total value referred to in a single contract or project is $120,000 or more, or the total value of all such construction, removal, repair, or improvements undertaken by such person within any 12-month period is $750,000 or more.

            "Class B contractors" perform or manage construction, removal, repair, or improvements when the total value referred to in a single contract or project is $10,000 or more, but less than $120,000, or the total value of all such construction, removal, repair or improvements undertaken by such person within any 12-month period is $150,000 or more, but less than $750,000.

            "Class C contractors" perform or manage construction, removal, repair, or improvements when the total value referred to in a single contract or project is over $1,000 but less than $10,000, or the total value of all such construction, removal, repair, or improvements undertaken by such person within any 12-month period is less than $150,000. The Board shall require a master tradesmen license as a condition of licensure for electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractors.  Class “C” Contractors and those contractors whose work does not meet the threshold for a Class “C” License, must obtain a Fairfax County Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) License.

Ask your contractor for his or her “Acord” insurance certificate also. Ask the contractor to provide a “Certificate of Insurance” with the homeowner listed as “additional insured.” Verify both liability coverage and worker’s compensation coverage (if contractor has more than two employees counting him/herself).  That helps protect the homeowner from a possible civil suit if there is an accident that injures an employee of the contractor. And, believe it or not - if a contractor fails to pay his employees, helper or for the materials used, they (employees) can place a lien on your property. If the contractor skips town with your money you will pay twice: to get the lien off of your property and possibly a lawyer’s fee.

The state and county will not go after an unlicensed contractor who may have defaulted on an agreement with you. You, the complainant must convince the Commonwealth Attorney to file charges or hire a lawyer to get satisfaction, if that’s even possible and the crook can be found.

Lastly, having a good agreement in writing is very important. The state law of contracting calls for the contract to have certain un abbreviated recitals to name a few:  start and finish dates, cost, how paid but does not require money up front, license number, addresses and contact numbers.  Food for thought….if a contractor ask for 30, 50 or higher percent up front - that’s a flag to me. We earn money by providing a service and delivering a product. Not getting money for nothing up front. Also can the contractor financially complete the job? Ask him or her why up front money is needed.  Just a thought here…if the project is for example a kitchen, the deposit may be 30% or higher due to cost of special order (non-returnable) cabinets, fixtures etc.  My contracts typically have as much a 40% deposit and then stage payments.  The contract is to protect both parties.  As a contractor, it is not my place to finance a project, so I am always ahead of the client on payments, this also protects me against non-payment.  Here is an example of my payments for a kitchen.  This type of payment schedule protects both parties as well.  Homeowner doesn’t pay if next stage doesn’t start, and I don’t start next stage if I don’t get paid. Payment Schedule:


                        37%     Deposit

                        11%     Start of painting (electrical and drywall repair completed)

                        12%     Start of cabinet install

                        11%     Upon countertop measure

                           7%    Start of tile backsplash

                        10%     Start of fireplace

                           6%    Start of flooring finish

                           5%    Substantial completion

No matter if another villager recommends a contractor, you should go through the same steps to protect your finances and your home. Also keep in mind that there is no way for me to know if that contractor will do as good a job for you as I think he/she does or did for me. Due diligence good people. I (John Boynton) will be happy to be a resource at any time since it is important to me that all contractors in our area should be properly licensed. Those who are not give those who are a bad name!

Babysitter Wanted – Jonathan & Roberta Janik (Loudoun Lane) are looking for a babysitter for (6) Tuesdays from 4 – 6:00 PM starting 4 February (2/4/2020) to watch our second grader.  Perfect for a teenager looking to make some extra money.  Please contact Roberta at 617/852-7506 or Jonathan at 617/515-6311.

Enjoy the wild swings in the weather 39 degrees today, 69 Saturday.

John Cooley, CAWSV


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