Village News, 4/16/20

Dear West Springfield Neighbor / Friend, 

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Below is what I think will interest you and a few of your neighbors.

COVID-19 Update: Please remember to dispose of used gloves, masks, and disinfectant wipes correctly. Improper disposal is a public health hazard for your neighbors and our waste collection workers who clean them up.

From the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH):

  • OPEH has received additional local budget authority to move forward with providing transportation and additional shelter capacity for homeless people affected by COVID-19.
  • Staff is also working with local hotels to secure rooms for symptomatic individuals and are also securing contracts for cleaning and meal delivery
  • Most symptomatic homeless individuals to date have been tested at the hospital when seeking care for their symptoms.
  • OPEH staff are working on formal agreements with local transportation companies that are willing to transport homeless individuals who are sick and support shelter providers.  

Language Resources - Fairfax County launched a Language Portal to highlight COVID-19 content in Fairfax County's most used non-English languages including:

 Spanish / Español

Mapping Resources - The Geospatial Resources Platform highlights applications with data relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic in Fairfax County such as:

  • Food resources with food pantries, FCPS grab-n-go locations, and other nonprofit sites.
  • Healthcare resources with hospital, urgent care, respiratory clinic, and pharmacy locations.
  • Grocery stores that support seniors shopping during special hours.

Groceries:

  • Click here for more information, including hours of stores that open earlier for vulnerable populations.
  • For opportunities to purchase directly from farms in the region see this map.

How Can You Help? - check the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors website at my website under "How You Can Help" for more opportunities to help, including donations to nonprofit organizations, blood donations, and volunteer opportunities.

Department of Family Services:

  • The Fairfax County Area Agency on Aging will receive about $487,705 in emergency federal funding to support home congregate meals and home delivered meals.  
  • Financial assistance is available to foster parents who take in a child as an emergency placement or a child who requires quarantine or isolation. Foster families would get a one-time payment of $2,000.

https://www.worldometers.info/ - this website lists deaths during the period of 1/1/2020 – 4/1/2020. You can draw your own conclusions, but worldwide deaths from the current pandemic are compared to deaths from other causes. My wife and I had different conclusions from the stats, but she found on the same website that we had 8 deaths worldwide from COVIG – 19 on 23 January, 4,890 on 1 April and 7,959 worldwide deaths from COVIG – 19 on 15 April.

Yes – she and I both know that stats can be manipulated for whatever purpose – so I/we say again – draw your own conclusions.

A Real Estate (RE) Property Tax Increase - is just that, regardless of whether it from a tax levy increase or from increased assessments. Even now with many off the job – we will pay on average $172 more in RE tax liability if the FY2021 budget proposal is adopted. I applaud county’s board of supervisors for removing the 3 cent tax levy increase, but there is more to do.

In years past we would have a tax assessment increase without a levy increase and then the next year a tax levy increase, but assessed values stayed pretty much the same. This year was to be a double whammy with both assessment and levy being raised. The County Executive and the Board of Supervisors (BOS) removed the 3 cent levy increase from the revised proposal, but I will still have to pay an additional $438.50 due to the increased assessment. County expects that the average increase based only assessment will be $172.00 (not sure why mine is higher than the average?).

I submitted an online input to the Board’s meeting trying to make the point that this is the wrong time and wrong fiscal year for any increase in RE taxes, no matter if by levy or by assessment. You probably know that Department of Tax Administration (DTA) sets the assessment based on several factors to include economic growth, comparable home values and recent sales data. They adjusted home values upward before the COVIG – 19 stopped many military moves and disrupted our economy. We can see the impact this will have on our home values. I have been here for about 24 years now and have never seen the RE assessments reduced. Secondly, county executive determines the tax levy necessary to pay for the BOS fiscal year “initiatives”. That was to be 3 cents this budget cycle (FY2021) plus that 4% admissions tax. Even though they removed the tax levy increase and the entertainment admission tax from the revised FY2021 budget proposal, they actually deferred those increases to later years. Net result for most – more RE taxes in FY2021 and beyond!

No matter your support or lack of support for the revised budget proposal, I encourage you to share your opinion with the entire Board of Supervisors by emailing ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov. You can also use the online form option at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/clerkservices/budget-public-hearing-testimony.

According to the county executive officer “Our future may be leaner, and will certainly be more efficient, as we use different tools to provide the services that are needed for our community.”

That enhanced efficiency is what most of us have wanted for quite some time now. I, for one wish county and FCPS success in working more efficiently needing less from county residents.

Free Day Lilies and some Irises Toobring your shovel to 8129 Edmonton Court and help yourself. The lilies are pretty in bloom and tend to spread making them good ground cover for unused portions of backyards. They do well in deep pots & planters if you want to control them. The Irises are mixed in with the lilies, but both thrive in the same space.

Downed Trees a lot of rain and a bit of wind brings down some of our trees.  It may be a good time to remind all that if a live tree even from a neighbor’s yard falls and damages your home – it is considered an act of God and your insurance has to cover it. But, if it is dead and you have made the homeowner aware that it is dead and a danger to your property – damages are then borne by the dead tree owner. Take a look at your trees for “widow makers” – those larger limbs that may come down onto home, car, pets or people during high winds.

Coronavirus: Belper Moo Relieves Lockdown Misery – no attempt of making light of our national emergency, but I suspect by now, you are also getting cabin fever and yearning for some distraction from the ever present threat. A village in Derbyshire, England found a fun activity that all in that community can join the fun. Every evening at 18:30 hours (6:30 PM) locals in Belper, Derbyshire, England gather on doorsteps and lean out of bedroom windows for a two-minute cattle chorus. Yep, they moo as do the young bovine heifers when first they step onto the cool, succulent grass of spring. Maybe we ought to do something similar. Interested?

Marking Electrical Outlets and Switches – Kerri Henry (Edmonton Court) had an idea that may help guys/gals like me when replacing outlets or electrical switches. Kerri suggests using an indelible marker to mark the inside of the faceplate on outlets and switch covers with the corresponding breaker to help ensure the correct breaker is off before handling the wires. Having had to remind myself more than a few times that electricity will certainly wake you – I think this is a grand idea. 

Membership Meeting – 7:30 PM, 14 May conducted via Zoom Video Conferencing. More instructions will be included in enews as we get close. iPhones, iPads and similar Androids or home computers can be used. Many of us are familiar with the system, but get ready by downloading Zoom and reading over the associated “how to” literature. 

Do You Need Help? Thanks to those willing to help others. Let us know if or when you are close to being out of essential items – we should be able to help provide for each other.  We can help without mentioning names or addresses. Some communities ask their senior citizens to post a green piece of paper in their front window to indicate that all is good and nothing is needed, or a yellow piece of paper meaning that they are ok, but need help getting groceries or meds or similar. In emergencies, they post a red piece of paper indicating that something is wrong and they need help. Of course it means nothing unless your neighbors are aware of the plan. You can also set off your car alarm using your key fob’s panic button. Please do make sure that at least one of your trusted neighbors has a key to your home.

A lady crossed the street this morning to avoid being within 6’ of me. I admit my teenage insecurities bubbled back to the surface as they did at my junior prom about 100 years ago. It is a new life; isn’t it?

John Cooley, CAWSV

 

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