Parents Ask City Council to Extend CDC Lease

Falls Church Times Staff

October 12, 2011

A dozen parents implored the Falls Church City Council last night to extend the Easter Seals’ lease at the Child Development Center, which expires in November.  Council members were sympathetic to the parents’ concerns, but gave no assurances before going into a closed session to continue their discussion of the matter.

Many of the parents said that it would be very difficult for them to find another day care provider on short notice, as most facilities have long waiting lists.  Others had high praise for the quality of care provided and noted that CDC staff members would be in a difficult position in the event of an abrupt closure.

Vice Mayor Dave Snyder said that if he were in the parents’ shoes he would be doing the same thing, but he maintained that Easter Seals had not presented a serious counter offer to the City.  “It’s a little hard to negotiate when there’s nobody sitting at the other side of the table.  We need them to negotiate with us to get a win-win,” he said.

Regarding the CDC rent, Snyder was firm.  “The notion that a dollar a day for a facility that is part of the Easter Seals, which is part of a $1.2 billion dollar annual operation, strikes me that there’s something that needs to be negotiated,” he said.  Snyder also noted that City schools have expressed an interest in the site because of equally important social and educational obligations.

Mayor Nader Baroukh said the Council has a responsibility to parents, but also to Falls Church taxpayers and the school community.  “The City has been clear that there has to be some type of return for the City,” said the mayor.  “Easter Seals were made aware of that from the beginning.”  He said that he was glad to hear there had been some recent movement in the negotiating process, but that dialog takes two parties.

For nearly 50 years the facility has been leased to Easter Seals, who would prefer an extension until at least the summer of 2013.  In August the Council passed a motion authorizing City Manager Wyatt Shields to work with Easter Seals on a one year lease extension at fair market rent, with the possibility of an extension.

In June, Easter Seals reportedly indicated they would be willing to pay $50,000 annually for the space.  According to a WRC-TV report yesterday evening, the City is seeking a rent of $120,000 per year.

Later in the meeting the Council approved (6-0, with Mr. Peppe absent) a resolution amending the pension plans for City employees and police hired on or after January 1, 2012.  The revisions raise the City retirement age from 62 to 67.  The police retirement age remains at 55.  Mayor Baroukh said that the plans would be reviewed again in conjunction with the budget process next February.

The closed session which followed the public meeting involved discussion of water system issues, in addition to the CDC matter.

October 12, 2011 


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