May 17, 2010
A woman I once met in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines said that for some years her husband had operated a tricycle taxi – a moped with side car – and managed to support the family. All was well until one day the machine just wore out. With no money to buy another one, he had been unemployed ever since.
It’s a hard-luck story: an unsophisticated man works hard but neglects to account for depreciation on his equipment. The result, seemingly a surprise, is 100 percent predictable.
Of course, that was in a third-world country. Couldn’t happen here, in one of the most prosperous, best educated little cities in the world.
In fact it’s happening right under our noses, and even if we recognize it, we’ve excused it as a temporary phenomenon that we’ll correct just as soon as the economy revives.
The City budget has two parts – the operating budget and the Capital Improvements Program. As the name implies, the CIP funds infrastructure projects, often requiring debt service over multiple years. School buildings, parks, stormwater drainage projects and the like are part of the CIP.
But for the second year in a row, the City has held down the tax rate by robbing the CIP. Like the Philippino taxi driver, we can live on this year’s tax rate of $1.24 and maybe next year as well. But when we need a new school, or City Hall needs renovating, or the library needs an annex, or Big Chimneys Park needs drainage – forget about it, because the current tax rate makes almost no allowance for capital improvements. The only real exceptions are matching funds for federal grants.
So the City is living a lie – two lies, in fact, the second one being that Falls Church’s tax rate increase is lower than the Washington area average. I quote from City Council minutes:
“One of [City Manager Wyatt] Shields’ slides showed the city’s tax rate in the middle of the other rates in the region. . . . He said the median tax rate increase since 2008 in the region had been 28 cents, and in Falls Church 23 cents. ”
How could the City Manager make such an audacious claim? I asked for the methodology, and here’s what I got: Read more
May 17, 2010
May 9 Win Over Alexandria, 11-6
During an exceptionally windy day at the Mason field, the girls exhibited outstanding teamwork, utilizing the skills and drive of all players. Falls Church came out strong with a 3-1 position four minutes into the game, with the first three draws won by Claire Hiscott. Likewise, Annette “iron curtain” Schlitt blocked six of the first eight shots on goal early in the first half, allowing Falls Church to keep momentum in their favor. She maintained a tight grip on the goal throughout the game, with support from many, including Erin Barth, Olivia Cipriano and Anna DuBro at key moments of the game.
Amy Roche and Lydia Grund won several ground balls, continuing strong momentum by Falls Church. Bridgett Rorrer had a key ground ball win late in the first half, to avoid scoring from an aggressive drive by Alexandria. Mackenzie Cogar had an outstanding interception and assist (her second of the game) to a goal by Victoria Rund.
Beginning the first half, Cindy Lay picked up a strong ground ball recovery and darted toward the offensive end of the field – now a signature move and strong asset for the team. Alexa Tracy and Sarah Maller delivered goals. Mackenzie Cogar, Meredith Johnson and Lauren Wever scored doubles. Claire Hiscott scored three goals. In addition, there were several strong shots on goal, keeping Alexandria on their heels, including Claire Trundle and three from Bridgett.
May 16: Defeats Dulles South 12-6
Another victory for Falls Church Girls U11, hosted by Dulles South, brings their season record to 6-1. Falls Church won the first three draws and came out strong, countered by early, aggressive offensive play from Dulles South. The game was opened with a warm welcome from the Dulles South coach, along with encouragement of sportsmanship and positive crowd support.
The team had excellent coordination across the field, with phenomenal ground ball wins from Kalena Wojtola, Cindy Lay, Mackenzie Cogar and particularly strong passing from Olivia Cipriano and Lydia Grund. Goals were delivered by Elizabeth Dodge, Bridgett Rorrer and Victoria Rund and two goals each from Amy Roche, Meredith Johnson and Claire Trundle and a hat trick (3) from Claire Hiscott.
As the team has come to anticipate, there was excellent goal defense from Annette Schlitt with several one-on-one stops, during direct rushes from Dulles South, as they sought to obtain momentum. Erin Barth, Alexa Tracy and Ranel Marshall had very strong defensive support, enabling Annette to avoid additional aggressive attacks.
In addition, the Falls Church coaches provided strong support for the team and encouraged teamwork, passing and moving the ball aggressively throughout the game.