Wednesday, March 20, 2013

County Board - County Staff Discuss Selling Nature Centers, Libraries, Community Centers at Off-Site Meeting

 Hello, Yupette,

The County Board, County Manager, and County Staff took a break today from budget work sessions to hold an off-site work session at WETA's headquarters in Shirlington about selling off "excess" County Property

Besides the branch libraries, like Cherrydale, being sold the County Board, County Manager, and County Staff (most of whom don't live in Arlington) discussed disposing of the following properties: Woodmont Center, Lubber Run Recreation Center, Gunston Bubble (Shirley Playfield), Long Branch Nature Center (Glen Carlyn Park), Gulf Branch Nature Center (Gulf Branch Park), Edison Center Complex, and Madison Center. The total assessed value of the properties (excluding the branch libraries) is about $158 million and the total value of the land of the properties is $149 million. Long Branch Nature Center (which costs about $75,000 to operate) is assessed for $72 million and Gulf Branch Nature Center (which costs about $37,000 to operate) is assessed for $32 million.

As for the branch libraries, Library Director Diana Kresh believes they could be converted into storefronts or kiosks.

There was no mention of abandoning the Artisphere or reducing the amount spent on new sports, recreation, and entertainment facilities.

Several County Board members appeared not to be impressed by arguments that the County's population is growing and the County is losing open space because of redevelopment. One County Staff member said "off the record" that "Chris Zimmerman is desperate to get the Pike streetcar constructed, any way he can".

Thanks for your blog.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Arlington's FY 14 Budget, Another Fiscal Train Wreck

Hey, Yupette,

I've been attending the County Board - County Manager FY14 Budget work sessions and it's obvious that the FY14 Budget is going to be another fiscal train wreck, with several hundred million again going to the County Board's pet vanity projects, recreation, entertainment, and sports as in years past, while the essentials will be shorted again. Always money to be found from mid-year revenue projections to pay for cost overruns related to sports, recreation, and entertainment programs and projects this year, or be carried over to next year. Apparently it doesn't matter what Congress does and does not do to the federal budget, the County Board has it's fiscal autopilot set on tax-borrow-spend again.