CDC Updates Mask Guidance — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends masks indoors in places with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission and in schools nationwide, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. The Virginia Department of Health told Reston Now that it is analyzing the new guidance. “We continue to emphasize that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination,” VDH said in a statement. [Associated Press]
Plastic Bag Tax Public Hearing Scheduled — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 to gather community input on a proposed five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. If the ordinance is approved, Fairfax County would be the second locality in Virginia to adopt a bag tax. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Woman Freed After Being Trapped Under Car — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel extricated a woman who was found trapped under her car in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Reston Parkway around 11:58 p.m. on Monday (July 26). Police believe she had failed to fully shift into park, leading the car to roll backward into her after she exited the vehicle. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital to get treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening. [Patch]
Metro to Tweak Railcar Announcements — “Metro is changing the announcements on its railcars at the request of its Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). The new message moves the most important information, what train line and destination it is, to the front…Phil Posner, chair of the AAC, says the change is beneficial for those with low vision, hearing, or low mobility and people new to the system.” [DCist]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Northam Signs Bill Legalizing Marijuana Possession — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed a bill legalizing simple possession of marijuana beginning this summer, making it the first Southern state to do so…The bill, signed a day after April 20 — marijuana’s unofficial holiday — allows anyone in the state 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana beginning July 1.” [CNN/WTOP]
Fairfax County Judge Orders Former D.C. Firefighter’s Release — “A former D.C. firefighter will be released from a Virginia prison this week after a Fairfax County judge Tuesday vacated his 2019 conviction on drug and gun charges, which were based on falsehoods told by a former Fairfax County police officer now under state and FBI investigation.” [The Washington Post]
Reston Banking Company Plans to Go Public — John Marshall Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of John Marshall Bank, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that “it intends to become a publicly-traded company, including potentially listing its shares on the Nasdaq or NYSE stock exchange. The Company anticipates becoming a publicly-traded company within the next twelve to fifteen months.” [Business Wire]
Fairfax County Tax Relief Workshop Today — “Join our virtual tax relief workshop: April 22, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Learn how to apply for real estate or car tax relief if you’re a senior or person with disabilities.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
Leidos Lands Customs and Border Patrol Contract — “Reston-based Fortune 500 company Leidos Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday it has been awarded a $480 million contract by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide multi-energy portal (MEP) systems for nonintrusive inspections of commercial vehicles at land and sea ports of entry.” [Virginia Business]
Last Chance to Join Frying Pan Farm Photo Contest — “TOMORROW (April 22) is the last day to submit pictures for our photo contest! Pics can be from 1/1/2019-now, taken at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, VA. Proceeds from the contest will help support the farm.” [Friends of Frying Pan/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Concerns Voiced About Zoning Modernization Project — Reston Association’s Board of Directors have written a letter to the Hunter Mill District Supervisor voicing concerns about the county’s ongoing zoning ordinance modernization project. Concerns highlighted include the need for more public review and issues related to accessory living units and home-based businesses. [RA]
FCPD Mourns Loss of K9 — “We are heartbroken to share the news of the recent passing of one of our retired patrol canines, K9 Blitz. K9 Blitz served the Fairfax County community from 2008 to 2012, when his handler left the Canine Section due to a career promotion. K9 Blitz was a Belgian Malinois who was also specially trained to assist our SWAT team on operations.” [Fairfax County Police Department]
Reminder: Taxes Due Dec. 7 — If real estate taxes aren’t already built in your mortgage, the second installment of this year’s real estate tax is due by Dec. 7. Payments can be made online. [Fairfax County Government]
FCPS Establishes Student Equity Ambassador Leaders Program — “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has established a new leadership program–Student Equity Ambassador Leaders (SEALS)–to amplify student voices and provide an increased understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion through leadership development, projects, and relevant experiences of high school students.” [FCPS]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
No Increase to Property Tax Rate — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to advertise a property tax rate for FY2018 that is equal to the FY2017 rate. [Washington Post]
‘Epiphany’ Returning to NextStop — Herndon native and South Lakes High School graduate Derek Jasper is a magician, mentalist and deception expert. His show, “Epiphany,” returns to NextStop Theatre in Herndon (269 Sunset Park Drive) next weekend. [Connection Newspapers]
Herndon Police Led on High-Speed Chase — A traffic stop Sunday near the intersection of Crestview Drive and Herndon Parkway turned into chase when the driver fled. Herndon Police later found the vehicle, but not the driver. [Herndon Patch]
FCPD Gang Unit Involved in Search for Remains — Acting on recently received information, Fairfax County Police Department homicide, gang unit and crime scene detectives have been looking for human remains in Holmes Run Park and Lemon Road Park, near Falls Church. This follows an earlier investigation in which 10 people (including a Reston woman) were charged with gang activity in connection with the killing of a 15-year-old whose body was found near Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. [Fairfax County Police Department/WTOP]
Now that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a $4.01 billion budget for 2017 — a plan that nearly fully funds Fairfax County Public Schools — it is time to look ahead to Fiscal Year 2018.
The supervisors and the school board will engage in a joint retreat on June 14 to get a jump on what surely is to be another testy budget battle.
Even with a new tax rate, approved on Tuesday, of $1.13 (a 4-cent jump) of assessed home value, the county and the schools will likely feel the pinch again next year.
FCPS superintendent Karen Garza, who had requested a 6-percent increase from the Supervisors for 2017, has already predicted similar needs for 2018 as the nation’s 10th-largest school system faces rising cost drivers such as retirements, health care and the need for special programs.
The budget shortfall initially was about $67 million, but in the end, the schools received about $2 billion from the county, or about a 4.8 percent more than in 2017.
Now, on to 2018.
“There continues to be a projected shortfall of over $75 million as we project ahead to FY 2018,” Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova said at the 2017 budget markup session last week. “This projection includes revenue increases of approximately 2.4 percent based on limited projected growth in the county’s real estate market.”
“The projected shortfall makes it clear that difficult budget decisions lie ahead,” said Bulova. She directed the county executive to outline a FY 2018 budget that “allocates current projected available resources between the County and Schools.” Read More
No Real Estate Tax Increase — Fairfax County Executive Edward L. Long presented his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget, including the Multi-Year FY 2016-2017 Budget Plan to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. He proposed a General Fund budget of $3.8 billion for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016), an increase of 2.61 percent over the FY 2015 Adopted Budget Plan. Long recommended no Real Estate Tax increase in his proposed Budget. [Fairfax County]
Audition for Reston Players — Reston Community Players will hold auditions for Fox on the Fairway, a Ken Ludwig farce in the style of 1930s comedies, on Friday, Feb. 20 and Sunday, Feb. 22. [Reston Players]
Madison Student Elected To School Board — Ben Press, a junior at Madison High School in Vienna, has been elected by the countywide Student Advisory Council (SAC) to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, beginning July 1. Press will participate in School Board meetings as a nonvoting member, filling the position currently held by Harris LaTeef, a senior at Langley High School. [FCPS]
Uber, Lyft Now Totally Legal in VA — Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed SB1025 and HB1662, which established licensing procedures for transportation network companies (TNC’s) like Uber and Lyft to legally operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Earlier this year, Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring’s offices worked with the Department of Motor Vehicles and TNC companies to find a compromise that allowed these entities to temporarily operate in Virginia until the General Assembly passed permanent legislation.
Sledding fun in Reston Tuesday/Credit: Charlotte Geary via Facebook