Saturday, April 5, 2014
County Board to Contract Out DHS Services to Pay for Streetcars
Arlington's Department of Human Services and Community Planning, Housing, and Development made their presentations at the County Board-County Manager FY 2015 on April 3rd. County Board was tired after spending the day planning the upscale urbanization of a couple more neighborhoods with a couple of REITs and wanted to get through the work session expeditiously.
Good news is that DHS is making significant progress in reducing the number of single homeless persons. DHS has also stabilized the number of homeless families. Bad news is that even with 11% of Arlington's annual budget ($124.8 million), 685 full time employees, and the FY 15 cost per Arlington resident at $580, DHS is only keeping up with the demands for crisis human services by shifting funds from wellness programs to crisis intervention programs.
Bad news for DHS is County Board Chair Jay Fisette has to significantly reduce DHS's budget over the next few years to pay for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars. Consequently, a wide range of services now being provided by DHS employees are under review before being contracted out. Chairman Fisette is especially interested in privatizing Volunteer Services, something Walter Tejada vehemently opposes because he believes privatization would make Volunteer Services another elitist organization, like the Committee of 100 and Civic Federation.
Community Planing, Housing, and Development (budgeted at $9.5 million in FY 15 with 88 full time employees) reported that the number of market rate affordable apartments in Arlington affordable to persons at or below 80% of area median income is 'plummeting' and the total budget for affordable housing in FY 15 will be $21.5 million, which will be used to build or renovate about 350 affordable apartments for the creative class. Developer contribution for affordable housing during FY 15 will be about $4 million. Highlight of the budget discussion was CPHD will hire two senior planners, one to control the Planning Commission and the other to control 'neighborhood nuisances' who live near Crystal City. Nothing mentioned about VOICE and it's demands for affordable housing or the plans for a massive TIF to fund all of redeveloped Crystal City's infrastructure, including a streetcar system.
Finally, the County Board discussed its regional obligations, including its pet regional non-profits, which are typically unchanged year-to-year.
Next up for discussion is the School System on April 8th.