Council Votes For 1 Cent Tax Rate Increase; Fully Funds Schools

April 29, 2015

The Falls Church City Council has approved an $83 million budget for the coming year that invests in infrastructure and fully funds the School Board budget request for City schools. The adopted budget includes a real estate tax increase of one cent from the current rate of $1.305 to $1.315 per $100 of assessed value.

“The fiscal year 2016 Budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP) are the product of a great deal of discussion and hard work to meet the demand for outstanding government and school services,” Mayor David Tarter said after the vote on Monday. “The Council appreciates the input from the community throughout the budget process.”

In addition to approving the operating budget, the City Council approved the CIP with all but a few recommendations by the Planning Commission. The CIP will meet many critical needs, including:

City Hall and Public Safety Center renovations and expansion including parking structure;
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School HVAC replacement;
Library expansion, scheduled for FY2018;
George Mason High... [Read more...]

Organic Market Could be Third Anchor at Mason Row

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 24, 2015

A small grocery that emphasizes organic foods could be a third major commercial piece of the still unapproved Mason Row project at the corner of Broad and West streets, the Falls Church Times has confirmed.

It’s a long way from happening, and the project itself still needs final approval from the Falls Church City Council first. But Peter Batten of Spectrum Development confirmed in a telephone interview that his team is attempting to bring such a store into the big mixed-use plan that would cover more than four acres and run from West to the St. James Church.

If it happens, the grocer would join a Hilton Home 2 hotel and an 8-screen dinner theater as the other anchors in the proposal. Some 340 apartments also are part of the plan.

“An organic market is something we’re interested in,” Mr. Batten said. “We’re having preliminary discussions with a specialty organic market. It’s a matter of getting someone that can fit and working out arrangements and so forth.”

The names of the interested organic markets remain confidential, since no letter of intent... [Read more...]

For 2nd Year, Southwest Side Hit Hardest by Assessment Increases

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 24, 2015

The date when the City Council sets the property tax rate for the coming year is rapidly approaching in Falls Church City. But because a homeowner’s taxes are determined by both the tax rate and a home’s assessment, some will feel more pain than others.

And for the second year in a row, homes on what might be described as the City’s southwest side — an area roughly bounded by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, West Broad Street, Thomas Jefferson Elementary, and the Fairfax County line — are being hardest hit by increased assessments, according to a Falls Church Times analysis.

That analysis, the accuracy of which was confirmed by City Assessor Ryan Davis, shows that homes in that part of the City are rising in assessed value by about 6 percent this year. That comes on the heels of an even bigger jump last year, when houses in the same location saw assessments rise by 10-12 percent.

To the extent that the assessments are an accurate reflection of market value — and in Virginia, they are required to be within 10 percent of that figure —... [Read more...]

City’s Recycling Extravaganza Scheduled for April 25

April 16, 2015

Falls Church City’s Public Works Department will host a Recycling Extravaganza on Saturday, April 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Property Yard and Recycling Center, located at 217 Gordon Rd.

City residents may recycle a variety of items including used electronics, cell phones, clothing and textiles, bicycles, printer cartridges, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and medical supplies like crutches.

All items will be recycled, reused, or donated to charity. Paper shredding also will be provided.

For a complete list of acceptable items and what happens to each item after donation, visit

 Read More →

Around Town

SUNDAY, 4/19: Citizens for a Better City Annual Meeting

All are welcome to join Citizens for a Better City (CBC) on Sunday, April 19th for their Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception at Falls Church’s Hilton Garden Inn, 706 West Broad Street.


Reception begins at 5:00 PM with drinks & light hors d’oeuvres followed by our meeting at 6:00 PM.


Cocktails including 2015 dues $30 per person


You may pay at the door or in advance. Make your check out to Citizens for a Better City and mail to CBC, PO BOX 6080, Falls Church, VA 22042


Parking... [Read more...]

April 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Some Details About Proposed New Mason Are Released

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 7, 2015

City officials have released some information on the company that submitted the unsolicited bid for a new George Mason High School last month. The material doesn’t address some of the key questions residents will have, such as what the new school would look like, nor what it would cost to build.

Those are remaining confidential at the request of the bidder and are allowed to remain so under the provisions of the 2002 Virginia Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act (PPEA), a law designed to encourage development cooperation between government and private entities.

But there still are some interesting nuggets in the 84-page document which, at first glance, appears to serve as a sales brochure for the development team interested in building the high school and in developing the City’s new adjacent land that was acquired in the sale of the City water system to Fairfax.

However, it also sheds some light on just what this secret proposal would mean for the future of the high school and the City, if officials decide to approve it.

The developers include some... [Read more...]

City Receives Unsolicited Proposal for New High School

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
March 19, 2015

City officials have been meeting for over a year to discuss ways to commercialize 10 acres of the new land gained in the water sale in order to help to finance a new George Mason High School. But it’s not yet clear how much interest there will be from developers, or how much revenue could be realized.

However, City officials disclosed Thursday that they have received an unsolicited proposal from a developer who would build a new high school along with some new commercial establishments on the site. That would seem to indicate the site may be in considerable demand.

Details are sketchy. Officials aren’t offering any, saying that the proposal is exempt from public scrutiny under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which generally requires government officials to release information on such proposals, with some exceptions.

It’s exempt presumably to protect the developer’s information from the prying eyes of other developers that might also wish to bid on a new George Mason.

Without any information, it, of course, makes it hard for residents... [Read more...]

City Manager Proposes 2016 Budget With 4 Cent Tax Rate Increase

March 10, 2015

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields proposed a Fiscal Year 2016 budget of $83 million, an increase of 3.14 percent over the previous fiscal year that requires a 4 cent increase in the property tax rate to 1.345 per $100 of assessed value.

The proposed Budget provides for a 1.5 percent increase in general government operating expenditures and a 5.3 percent increase in the transfer to the school division, as requested by the School Board.

Mr. Shields is required by city code to include the School Board’s request in his proposed budget, but the City Council can reduce the school board’s request as it deems appropriate. The Council will adopt a final budget on April 27 after three public hearings and two town hall meetings. The 2016 fiscal year runs from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

In the budget document, Shields writes, “The fiscal year 2016 budget will require tough decisions, given the gap between expenditure growth and revenues generated from economic growth in the City. As the Council and community work through these decisions, the City’s... [Read more...]

Street Sweeping Delayed Until Next Week

March 10, 2015

Falls Church City officials have delayed street sweeping one week because of last week’s inclement weather. The seasonal cleaning of the roads will now begin the week of March 16 and is still subject to change for weather.

Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 residential areas south of Broad Street will be swept; commercial areas and municipal parking areas will be addressed Wednesday, March 18; and residential areas north of Broad will be handled Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20.

Street sweeping reduces the volume of pollutants entering local streams through the City’s 900 storm drain openings. Each cycle of street sweeping collects between 40 and 50 tons of debris from City streets. The materials intercepted include road salt, heavy metals, trash, and general sediment. The City anticipates collecting 200-250 tons of debris from five sweep cycles throughout the year.

Residents are asked to move vehicles off of residential streets scheduled for sweeping between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. When cars are parked on the street, the effectiveness suffers greatly,... [Read more...]

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