Village News, 2/27/20

Dear West Springfield Neighbor / Friend,

Please forgive my punctuation shortcuts and abuse of the Queen’s English. Never claimed to be good, but I do try.

Fairfax County Budget Town Hall – hosted by our Springfield District Supervisor, Pat Herrity, 7 – 9:00 PM, 19 March at the West Springfield Government Center 6140 Rolling Road. Following several budget town hall meetings across the county, our Board of Supervisors will vote to adopt the budget (with markups as needed) on 5 May 2020.

Here are just a few reasons for you to attend and speak your mind:

  • The Real Estate Tax rate is proposed to increase by $0.03; $0.02 for the County’s General Fund and an additional $0.01 to specifically for affordable housing. The more our home property values rise, the more demand on affordable housing.
  • Property Assessments are advertised to increase by only 2.7%, but mine increased by 7.57%. That equates to 11.7% increase for my property just since the 2018 budget. My social security and military retirement pay increases pale in comparison. 
  • There is also a proposed 4% admissions tax on events that will help organizations like ARTSFAIRFAX, the Fairfax Symphony, Wolf Trap, and Visit Fairfax produce better culture and arts programming. If approved, this new tax would go into effect in October 2020.
  • The increase in the general fund's budget is estimated at $175.87 million (+3.95%) to a total of $4.63 Billion! Including other appropriated funds such as federal and state grants, the total proposed budget is $8.83 Billion.
  • Specific initiatives included in this proposal include: Increasing pay for the County's general and uniformed employees, Reducing the County's carbon footprint, Increasing hours at public libraries, Police body-warn cameras, and increased funding for the Diversion First program that attempts to divert individuals to assessment and treatment in lieu of arrest. The objective is to divert people with mental illness, co-occurring substance use disorders and/or developmental disabilities from the criminal justice system into treatment.
  • 52.6% or $85.72 million of the budget is allocated to funding FCPS. That is less than the $89.70 million requested by the School Board.
  • At the town hall meeting you will hear as we have for 20+ years now the need to increase the corporate tax base to relieve pressure on homeowners (even with additional efforts, county has 14+% vacancy rate on commercial (non-residential) properties. For years, we have justified spending more on FCPS in part to help attract businesses to our county, but little about increasing economies of scale by combining certain operations and locations with county and FCPS. I didn’t see any mention of modifying the financially unsustainable county retirement plan that includes a social security offset until the retiree hits SS retirement age. Many experienced workers leave at retirement eligible age and/or time-in-service only to take another job elsewhere. If that program still exists, it certainly will be discussed – again. I would rather county see a fixed revenue source and then curb their initiatives to balance the budget. Most of you will be on one side or the other in regards to expenditures and revenue sources, but the ever-increasing tax burdens have caused many in my age bracket to move out of Fairfax County. That has led to yet another county initiative to convince me to “age in place”.

Hope to see you at the budget town hall.

New Republic Trash Schedule – Starting next week – Republic will pick up Recycle Trash on Mondays, Yard Debris on Wednesdays and Household Trash on Thursdays (only on Thursdays). I know that American also filed to reduce their household trash service to once per week, but not sure about their schedule or that of Bates. 

If you have more household trash than will fit into your toter, you can rent a second toter from Republic, but expect to pay $4.00 rent per month for it. We have appealed to them to grant that second toter at no charge either in rent or delivery fee. And, we have one resident who did ask and was issued a second toter at no charge to his family.

Please do not leave extra trash on the ground beside the toter or on the toter lid because Republic’s one-man crew can’t leave the truck to pick it up. When you do have more than what will fit into your toter and with prior permission from your neighbors, put your extra into their not-so-full toter. And be sure to afford them the same courtesy if/when you can accommodate their extra trash. My only expectation is that my neighbors securely bag their contribution so it doesn’t end up in the street in front of my house instead of in the trash truck. And they can expect the same from me.

Glass bottles are collected in the purple bin in the parking lot of the Springfield District Government Center on Rolling Road. Glass is now being recycled into construction material and sold to glass recyclers instead of adding to our land fill woes. If you can’t get your bottles to that collection point nor know of any helpful neighbors willing to also take your bottles, then put them into your trash container (as an absolute last resort), but no longer into your recyclable container.

As expected and predicted by County Solid Waste Department – the Board of Supervisors have voted to ban the use of plastic bags for yard debris. Not sure when that ban will take effect, but it is just a matter of time before we will have to use paper bags or reusable containers or to compost grass clippings.

Rolling Road & Storm Water Management - Below is a more detailed response to the legislation from the Design Consultant as it relates to storm water management and this Rolling Road widening project:

Under the law and regulations, the project will have to match existing conditions or reduce runoff following construction. The project will have to prove that it does not increase flooding for the 10-year storm.

For this area of Springfield Village Drive, the project will exceed those requirements by collecting runoff from Rolling Road and directing it to a different outfall. Storm runoff from Rolling Road that is now draining to the gutter on Springfield Village Drive will be redirected away from this area. As a result, the risk of flooding properties at the bottom of SVD will be reduced.

Village FaceBook Group – Great way to get information out very quickly to over 550 members. No need to wait for this old man and his inevitable edits or the weekly village news – just blast it out from your PC or phone. Just last week, the group was helpful in the search for a lost dog (now reunited with its family), a lost cat (also reunited), reporting a traffic jam at Old Keene Mill and Rolling Roads, finding a knee scooter for a neighbor needing to borrow one, and reporting a fire near the intersection of Springfield Village Drive and Rolling Road that closed Rolling Road as our quick-response fire department worked to control the flames.

It is a closed group to help ensure the privacy of subscribers and to prevent unsolicited business and/or political ads. Thanks to Wendi Dorey for setting this up for us, but also for responding to what I often hear when I suggest that folks join our group. “I don’t do social media!” So Wendi, can folks join the group without forfeiting their privacy to FaceBook?

Wendi responded that you do have to be on Facebook to join the group. But you can always change the settings on your personal page to be private allowing only the neighbors in the group to be able to see your page. If you don't post but do want to see what's going on, then no one will even bother checking out their personal page. 

So there you have it – we should all be in that group, especially you who will call me in the middle of the night asking that I put out a “quick” message to the village when your pet rock runs off to join the Brumbies! BTW – there is no such thing as a quick email message for the village.

Eminent Domain and Rolling Road - Morgan Perez (6822 Rolling Road) had a long phone call with Mike Coughlin from an eminent domain law firm. Morgan said that he gave a lot of great information and mentioned that he'd be happy to address a larger group of residents who will be visited by VDOT to acquire part of your front yards for the widening project.

Morgan said that she’d be happy to host an info session in her home sooner than later so he can come and speak to the issue that will soon take over our street. No date or time set yet, but would like to measure interest in such a meeting. This email went out only to those who will be engaged with VDOT for property acquisition and easements. Note that we only have email addresses for about one-half of the 57 homes that we should be keeping informed. Mention this to your RR neighbor in case he/she is one that I can’t email.

Let me (john.t.cooley@verizon.net) know if you have interest in gathering to hear what Mr. Mike Coughlin has to say.  

Watershed Cleanup – Saturday, 4 April from 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon. Twice each year we gather to clean our section of the Pohick Stream Park watershed. This year and thanks to a concerned SVD resident, we need to add a similar cleanup on that portion of the Accotink Creek watershed known also as West Springfield Park. Both efforts will be on the same day, 4 April; scout troops, school or church groups, sports teams and certainly all village residents will be welcome to join the fun. More to follow as we get closer to 4 April, but hoping two of you will volunteer to lead this effort – one in Pohick Stream Park and the other in West Springfield Park.

Teen Job Fairs – look to previous enews for more information or you can also register and get more information here. Works for businesses looking to hire and teens looking to attend the job fairs.

Camp Kesem JMU – from Emma Branch (Vancouver Road) - Hello neighbors! As you do your spring cleaning (sunset is later starting in 2 weeks, woohoo!) please consider donating Halloween costumes, arts and craft supplies, board games and outdoor games to Camp Kesem JMU! Please message me if you have any of these supplies!

We provide a week-long camp to children ages 6-18 effected by a parent’s or guardian's cancer. No family pays for camp! If you would like more information or know of a family that could benefit from attending camp, message me!

Village West Community Pool – did you know that VW Pool gives a $10.00 discount to pool members who are also members of our Civic Association? $10.00 happens to be the same amount as our CAWSV annual dues. Looks like a win-win situation to me. Keep an eye on their website to find other reasons to join and to join early (early bird discounts). Their website is https://villagewestpool.com/.

Take care; stay safe and warm.

John Cooley, CAWSV

 

 

 

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