City of Alexandria, VA
Manager's Report - April 13, 2012
Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Process Update
City Council and City staff will continue to work on the City Manager’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 General Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program. On April 14 at 9:30 a.m., City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2012 Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Rates in City Council Chambers in City Hall. On March 13, the Alexandria City Council voted 5-2 to authorize advertising a maximum possible real residential property tax increase to $1.008 per $100 assessed value, an increase of one cent. The personal property tax rate on vehicles and business tangible property tax rates would remain unchanged. The Council will determine and vote on a final real property tax rate when it adopts the Operating Budget and Capital Improvement Program on May 7, 2012. To view the latest budget documents and information, visit alexandriava.gov/Budget.
Yellow Cab Drivers to Hold “General Protest Meeting”
Earlier this week, Tenant and Workers United (TWU) announced that Yellow Cab Company drivers (most of whom own their cabs) are planning a “General Protest Meeting” on April 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 pm at the Lee Center, with the purpose of taking most of Yellow’s fleet off the road for several hours, and meeting with City Council members and City Council candidates about their allegations of unfair treatment. Some of the issues likely to be raised by the drivers, are the recent $7 weekly increase in Yellow Cabs’ stand dues (see attached information) and the required use of the company’s rear seat located credit card system (in lieu of using a driver’s phone device or paper system). Both items are outside the regulatory control of the City, since they are business decisions made by Yellow’s management. In a related matter, Department of Transportation & Environment Services staff are working on an analyzing gas prices to determine if the current $0.50 cent per trip gasoline surcharge should be raised. In addition, this calendar year, staff will be reviewing taxi fares and will likely be proposing changes in late fall. The current taxi fares were last set in 2008.
City Employee Ethics Report & Administrative Regulations Update
A committee of City employees has completed a report on City employee ethics policies, and many of the recommendations are being implemented by the Department of Human Resources. The report focuses on three major areas: (1) establishment of an ethics hotline for City employees, for which a contract to an operator has been awarded; (2) completion of a revision of the City’s Administration Regulations that updates the City's employee ethics policy and adds a whistleblower policy; and (3) development of an online ethics training class for all City employees. A Citywide statement will serve as the City employee ethics brand: “We honor the public trust by serving with integrity, civility and impartiality.”
Transportation & Environmental Services Announces Online Permit Program
As part of a continued focus on improved customer service, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services’ (T&ES) Construction Management and Inspection Division is currently rolling out a program for online permits to enable residents and contractors to file permit applications for T&ES permits online. T&ES has been sharing this information with its customers and has received very positive feedback form the initial users. Complete information and instructions for filing a permit are available online.
National Park Service Addresses Beaver Damage
The National Park Service (NPS) is addressing the beaver problem on the west side of the George Washington Parkway between Four Mile Run and Slaters Lane. The water backed up by the beavers’ dam practically filled much of the low areas along the entire length of this stretch of the Parkway. Between March 26 and April 2, NPS drained most of the beaver dam. It appears this occurred too late to save the many trees that died from either being felled by the beavers or losing oxygen to their roots. NPS also unblocked a number of drainage pipes, which aided the draining. NPS is also dealing with beaver issues on Daingerfield Island. LINK: Before and after pictures of the affected area on the George Washington Parkway.
Report Highlights Need for More Youth Programs
The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria conducted youth mapping of the City’s East end in 2011, in which teens went door-to-door surveying 484 City organizations about opportunities for youth. Results from this review, which was conducted a year after a similar effort in the West End, indicate that while the City offers many opportunities for youth, more resources and employment opportunities are needed in the East End.
April is Alcohol Screening Month
In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, the Department of Community and Human Services invites residents to take advantage of free, anonymous online alcohol screening. The screening provides users with confidential, immediate, and customized feedback.
National League of Cities Offers Discount Prescription Drug Cards to City Residents
The National League of Cities (NLC) launched a program to help provide City residents with relief from the cost of prescription medications. Through the program, CVS Caremark cards offer savings on prescription drugs at participating pharmacies to residents who do not have health insurance, have a traditional benefits plan, or have prescriptions that are not covered by insurance. The card is free, regardless of age, income or existing health insurance.
City of Alexandria Observes Days of Remembrance for Holocaust Victims, Tuesday, April 17
The City will observe the Days of Remembrance, Yom HaShoah, for the victims of the Holocaust at noon on Tuesday, April 17, in Market Square, 301 King St. City Council hosts the annual ceremony as part of the weeklong commemoration of the national Days of Remembrance, Sunday, April 15 through Sunday, April 22. This is the twenty-fifth year the City has held the ceremony, which is free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Vola Lawson Lobby on the first floor of City Hall (on the Cameron St. side of the building).
2012 Flora Krause Casey Public Health Award
In 1992, the Alexandria Public Health Advisory Commission established the Flora Krause Casey Public Health Award to recognize individuals who are dedicated to improving the health of the Alexandria community with a demonstrated commitment to the medically needy in the City. This year’s award recipient, the late Dr. Robert H. Anderson, served the Alexandria community and thousands of children as a conscientious and dedicated pediatrician from the 1950s until his death in 2006. In addition to developing a busy practice during the early 1950s, Dr. Anderson worked tirelessly to provide healthcare to the large number of underserved, underprivileged residents who lacked regular medical care in the City. He was very involved with education reform, the need for new schools, and the need for low-cost subsidized housing. A reception honoring Dr. Anderson’s work was held on April 10 in the Vola Lawson Lobby.