Friday, July 11, 2014

County Will Forego Federal Funding for Pike Streetcar


Press release from the County Manager's Office is on-line regarding the Pike streetcar funding decision. As discussed during a recent CIP work session County will forego federal funding and instead the Commonwealth of Virginia will provide up to $65 million to Arlington and Fairfax County ($52 and $13 million respectively) for the Pike streetcar. The latest estimated cost of the Pike streetcar is $333 million.

Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan expects the remainder of the Pike streetcar's cost will be funded  through a combination of new regional transportation funding and local dedicated real estate tax revenue.

Arlington transportation officials expect that foregoing federal funding will shave at least a year off the Pike streetcar's construction time.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

De la Pava Will Continue O'Leary's Car Tax Decal Program

Hi Yupette,

Responding to questions from motor vehicle owners about recently-retired County Treasurer Frank O'Leary's car tax decal program, Arlington's new Treasurer, Carla de la Pava, stated today that she will continue O'Leary's car tax decal program and the annual decal competition. Ms. De la Pava stated that vehicle personal property tax decals are "essential for enforcement" and "it's up to the County Board" to change the County's personal property tax ordinance. 

Ms. De La Pava did not want to comment about the assertions from several Treasurer's Office employees that license plate camera enforcement has made vehicle decals obsolete and so the decal program unnecessarily generates several tons of paper and plastic waste annually.

Several Arlington residents who refused to put U.S.S. Arlington decals on their windshields last year have reported it has attracted no attention from whomever enforces the vehicle personal property tax in Arlington. Fairfax County discontinued its vehicle personal property tax decal program several years ago.

Rather than wait for ArlNow or the Sun Gazette to get around to asking Ms. De la Pava, I called her and she called me back.

As long as the annual decal competition is going to continue, here's my submission for next year.

John - 22206

Monday, July 7, 2014

APS Holds Pre-Proposal RFP Meetings at Abingdon, TJ


A group of architects, planners, and consultants filled Abingdon Elementary School's library this afternoon to hear Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations John Chadwick and Director of Design and Construction Scott Prisco describe the process for submitting a RFP for the Abingdon School addition and renovation at a cost of $28.75 million to add 136 seats, and for construction of a new elementary school on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at a cost of $50.25 million to add 725 seats. However, according to Mr. Prisco there is no guarantee that a new elementary school will be constructed on the TJ site in view of intense community opposition. The alternative to an elementary school on the TJ site is additions to two existing elementary schools.

The winning architectural teams will face tight deadlines, Abingdon School's completion date is September 2017 and the completion date for a new elementary school on the TJ site is September 2018. APS expects RFPs to be submitted as soon as possible (material related to RFPs for both projects can be found on APS's Web site). APS contemplates a lengthy community process planning both projects.

As with Williamsburg and Ashlawn, APS contemplates teaming with Arlington Parks and Recreation to replace open space at TJ and Abingdon with playing fields as 'community amenities'. How much, if any, open space remains will depend on residents of adjacent neighborhoods.

Meeting attendees were given a tour of Abingdon School by the school's principal. It became apparent during the tour that complaints by parents of the school's run down state are largely due to lack of good housekeeping, to poor storage, and to lack of interior maintenance.

After touring Abingdon School about half the attendees drove to TJ where they were encouraged to tour the TJ grounds. APS Facilities and Operations Staff want an elementary school constructed on the TJ site and consider those who oppose a new elementary school on the site to be 'neighborhood nuisances'.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tejada, Violand-Sanchez Reportedly Agree for Arlington to Accept 'Several Thousand' Unaccompanied Minors from Central America

Hey, Yupette,

Latest news about the influx of 'unaccompanied minors' from Central America is that County Board member Walter Tejada and School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez have negotiated with several Central American governments, including Guatemala, about Arlington accepting several thousand 'unaccompanied minors' and an unknown, but substantial number, of their family members.

This comes at the time when the School Board just finalized APS's 10 year CIP and Arlington County is about to finalize the County's 10 year CIP. County Manager is going to announce her plans for streetcar financing this week.

Unfortunately, it's 2014, not 1984.There is little affordable housing left in the County for anyone who earns $30,000 to $40,000 per year.Arlington's school system is already strained, as is Arlington's food assistance network.

Appears that about 50,000 unaccompanied minors have already crossed into the United States from Central America and 60,000 to 100,000 more will be entering the United States within a year.

It's unknown to what extent the County Board and School Board approved Tejada's and Violand-Sanchez's communications with Central American governments.

Pike Rider 22204