City Council Extends CDC Lease for Two Years,
Continues Review of Stormwater Problems
By GEORGE BROMLEY
Falls Church Times Staff
October 24, 2011
The Falls Church City Council this evening approved a resolution authorizing a two year extension of the lease for the Child Development Center (CDC). The new term will extend until November 30, 2013 at a rate of $3,000 per month.
The Council’s debate followed a 40 minute closed session, during which members thrashed out unresolved issues concerning the lease. Draft documents issued to the media prior to the meeting had indicated that the rent would be much higher.
The City-owned facility has been leased to Easter Seals for $1.00 per year since 1961. The current 25 year term ends on November 11. At several prior Council meetings many parents of children attending the CDC had implored officials to extend the lease, since there are few other options for day care in the area.
After brief discussion, the resolution passed, 4-1, with Councilmen Gardner and Peppe absent. Councilman Ira Kaylin cast the sole negative vote.
Kaylin, who spent many years of his federal career in risk management, said that the relationship between Easter Seals of the Greater Washington-Baltimore region and the CDC is not transparent. “I have never agreed to a financial proposal until I have understood it,” said Kaylin. “This is going to be voted on, and no doubt approved, prior to us having a clear understanding of where and how the money flows and I find that extremely difficult to go along with.”
CDC parents expressed their appreciation when it became clear that the Council was leaning toward extending the lease. ”It seems like the City has been taking a lot of lumps lately,” said Stuart Rubin. “I feel a vote in favor [of the extension] is a win for the City, the Council, and CDC.”
Mayor Nader Baroukh said the process had been arduous and that the terms of the lease are not necessarily ideal, but that both sides had worked very hard to find a middle ground. “There are a variety of things that we have to balance,” said the mayor. “I want to be clear the schools have an interest in the property. I hope we will have a resolution during our budget and CIP process.”
City Manager Wyatt Shields confirmed that the school system has formally expressed their continued interest in the CDC, as recently as last weekend.
Response to Stormwater Town Hall Meeting
Shields encouraged all residents to view the entire video of the October 17 town hall, which is available on the City website.
The city manager described the problem as having two tracks. One is the issue of the stormwater backflow into the sanitary sewer, which should not be happening. He said that the City needs to identify where this occurs and take measures to prevent it.
Shields termed the other issue as “classic stormwater management”; i.e., systemic problems not involving the sewers,. He said that the good news is that the City is well advanced on its watershed management plan, which should be ready by December. However, a major unresolved policy question is the impact of federal mandates regarding Chesapeake Bay, which he termed a huge state and region-wide issue.
As more data is necessary a survey is being developed for residents to report problems they encountered during the September 8 flood.
Shields and the Council agreed that solutions to Falls Church’s stormwater problems will be expensive. He said that a higher property tax or a dedicated funding stream through a stormwater utility would be required. The councilmen leaned toward the second alternative.
The only funds immediately available for stormwater improvements are through a $1.7 million federal grant for improvements on the Pearson and Coe branches of Tripps Run. Shields said such work should help some of the residents on Sherrow Avenue.
The city manager advised that leaf collection is now underway. Crews currently are working north of Broad St. and will shift to the south side next week. There are three pickups for each side of town. The full schedule is available on the City’s website. He asked that residents keep brush away from the leaf piles.
Shields endorsed the City’s mentoring program, noting that adults can work with youth who could use additional support. Those interested should contac Jessica Reyes at 703-219-2106.
At the city manager’s request the Council voted unanimously to defer action on a resolution to adopt the Northern Virginia Regional Water Supply Plan, the primary purpose of which is to ensure adequate and safe drinking water. Shields suggested the Council wait until November 28 to allow time to review the final draft of the plan. Vice Mayor Dave Snyder asked that the staff determine how many hours were devoted to responding to what he termed ” a classic no compensation mandate that makes absolutely no sense, considering the condition of the region.”
The Council passed a motion authorizing the city manager to award a contract to National Asphalt Manufacturing Corporation for the purchase of liquid asphalt hot mix as required for road repairs and maintenance. The total FY 2012 expenditures will not exceed $200,000.
The Council approved the following appointments:
Andrew Curtin to the Falls Church Cable Access Advisory Board to a term ending October 31, 2014.
Lori LaFave to an unexpired term on the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board ending August 31, 2014.
Addison Heard to an unexpired term on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Transportation ending Jaunary 31, 2012.
The following persons were reappointed to their respective positions:
Jerome Barrett to the City Employee Review Board to a term ending October 31, 2014.
Justin Berg to the Economic Development Authority to a term ending November 30, 2014.
By George Bromley
October 24, 2011