FYI Alexandria — June 2011
In This Edition...
City Manager James K. Hartmann Accepts New Position in Florida; Bruce Johnson Appointed Acting City Manager
In May, City Council appointed Chief Financial Officer Bruce E. Johnson to serve as Acting City Manager while a search is conducted for the new Manager. Johnson, who is not a candidate for the permanent City Manager position, has worked for the City of Alexandria since 2003. Initially, he served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer in February of 2009. Previously, he spent 27 years working for the Federal Government, serving as Budget Director for the U.S. Courts, and in staff positions in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Johnson received a law degree and master’s degree in public policy from Duke University. He earned his undergraduate degree in government from Harvard University.
Alexandria City Council has interviewed and selected an Executive Recruiter, Robert J. Burg, of Ralph Andersen and Associates, to facilitate the search for a new City Manager. City Council has also formed three focus groups to provide input to the Executive Recruiter on the characteristics and skills they believe Council should look for in the next City Manager. City Council’s goal is to conclude the selection process by September 30.
James K. Hartmann, who served as City Manager for six years and resigned in January, has accepted an offer to become the County Manager in Seminole County, Florida. His new position begins in late June.
City Council Adopts $566.9 M General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2012
On May 2, City Council voted unanimously to adopt a $566.9 million General Fund Operating Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which begins on July 1, 2011. The calendar year 2011 real estate tax rate of 97.8 cents was increased by 2 cents to 99.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average homeowner’s taxes will increase by $107, or 2.5%. The City’s real property tax rate remains the second lowest among major jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. Other City tax rates and major user fees will remain unchanged.
- City Council did not approve a proposed commercial transportation add-on tax; instead, part of the base real estate tax paid by all property owners will be reserved and used to fund transportation. It is estimated that the increased funding approved by Council will generate transportation funding of $13.5 million in FY 2012 and $110 million over 10 years.
- The largest dollar increase in the FY 2012 budget is dedicated to the Alexandria City Public Schools. The transfer of funds to the Schools for operating expenses will increase $6.9 million, a 4.1% increase over the FY 2011 budget. City Council also approved an additional $53 million for the Schools’ FY 2012-2021 Capital Improvement Program budget, which represents a 33% increase. The funds will be used to pay for additional classroom capacity at several schools and new elementary school buildings at Jefferson-Houston and Patrick Henry.
- City employees will receive merit step increases, if eligible, in FY 2012, at a cost of $3.3 million. Although the City Manager’s budget originally proposed a 1% City employee contribution increase for pension costs, the City Council did not include that proposal in the final FY 2012 budget. City Council formed an Ad Hoc Retirement Benefits Advisory Group to look at the need for any future changes to existing City defined benefit pension plans.
For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Budget.
Alexandria City Council Holds June 11 Work Session on Waterfront Plan
The Alexandria City Council will hold a work session on Saturday, June 11, at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the City’s Draft Waterfront Small Area Plan. The Plan provides a framework for the revitalization of the waterfront into a gateway that reflects the city’s heritage and enhances the waterfront as a distinctive destination. On May 14 following a public hearing on the Plan, City Council deferred its vote to allow City staff to provide Council members with responses to their questions about the Plan and its proposed implementation. A list of Council’s questions may be found at alexandriava.gov/Waterfront. City staff will address these questions at the June 11 work session.
The work session will be held at City Hall, (301 King Street), and will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 70 and on the City’s website at alexandriava.gov/Video. For more information about the Waterfront Plan, visit alexandriava.gov/Waterfront.
Want to Save Energy?
Interested in tips on ways to save energy around your home or business? Visit the City’s Energy$aver blog at alexandriava.gov/EnergySaver.
2011 Citizens Academy Winter Class Graduates
In April, Mayor Euille and City Council recognized the graduates of the Citizens Academy for successfully completing the 2011 Winter Session. Since 2005, Citizens Academy provides Alexandria residents and business owners with an opportunity to learn from elected officials, department heads and staff about the functions, services, activities of the city government in a classroom setting. Each session is eight weeks long. Participants meet weekly for two hours at various locations throughout Alexandria.
More than 240 students have participated and graduated from the program, which has increased in popularity over the last six years. All city residents and business owners are encouraged to participate. Notification of upcoming sessions will be posted on alexandriava.gov, and on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, call the Office of Communications and Public Information at 703.746.4800.
Alexandria Library to Forward Overdue Accounts to Collection Agency
Alexandria Library has announced that beginning June 15 all library card accounts with long-overdue library materials and unpaid fines and fees will be forwarded to Unique Management Services, Inc, a collection agency. All accounts with a balance of $25 and higher for 60 days or more, will be forwarded to the agency, and a non-negotiable service charge of $10 will be added to each account with delinquent fines and fees once it is forwarded to Unique Management. Approximately $200,000 in overdue fines and fees are currently outstanding.
Library patrons may pay fines by check or cash at any of the four branch libraries. In addition, patrons have also been able to pay fines with a credit card at any circulation desk or online at My Account at www.alexandria.lib.va.us.
King Street Paving Project Underway
This month, construction crews will be at work repairing concrete and brick curbs, and gutters, resurfacing the asphalt and improving the crosswalks on King Street. Starting Sunday, June 5, the City began paving work on King Street between The Strand and Diagonal Road. The paving, scheduled to take place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, is likely to last about 30 days. However, weather conditions or equipment complications may cause delays, in which case the project will be completed as soon as possible.
The City has obtained a noise permit for this project and City inspectors will be on duty at all times to ensure that the contractors abide by the permit. Traffic, including the King Street Trolley and DASH bus service, will be re-directed during paving hours. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/KingStreetPaving.
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Update
As the Department of Defense (DOD) moves ahead with plans for the Washington Headquarters Service (WHS) Building at the Mark Center, the City continues to work to minimize the ways this move will disrupt the lives of residents and commuters. Commitments have now been made by the state and federal governments to pay for $100 million in road improvements, including new turn lanes and other improvements to key intersections, a pedestrian bridge over Seminary Road, and (potentially) a ramp from the I-395 High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes to Seminary Road. In addition, the DOD has agreed to use the DASH and WMATA bus systems to provide enhanced transit to WHS workers, as well as residents who live along the bus routes.
City Council recently approved a new daytime parking district for neighborhoods close to the WHS building, so that WHS workers will not use neighborhood streets to park. Implementation of the new parking district is scheduled for June and July. Although occupancy of the building is scheduled to begin August 9 and be completed by the end of the year, the City continues to work with Congressman Moran and Senators Warner and Webb to delay the full occupancy until some of the transportation improvements are in place.
Alexandrians “Spring 2 ACTion” in Support of Volunteerism, Nonprofit Organizations
In May, Alexandrians showed their generosity during Spring for Alexandria, a Citywide event that celebrates the city’s tradition of giving and raises funds for local charities.
The two-day event, sponsored by Volunteer Alexandria, now in its fourth year, included a philanthropy summit, Generations of Giving Gala, Community Contributions Day, and a Day of Service.
This year, Spring2 ACTion, a new initiative of ACT for Alexandria, the city’s community foundation, was added. ACTion for Alexandria (www.actionalexandria.org), an online community dedicated to grassroots fundraising and community engagement, partnered with 47 nonprofit organizations to raise more than $100,000 in donations and matching grants.
Beginning with the August 23 Primary Election, some Alexandrians will be in a new State Senate or House of Delegates district. Previously, the City was split into 3 House Districts and 2 Senate Districts; as a result of redistricting, it will be split into 2 House Districts and 3 Senate Districts. Of the city’s 26 precincts, 11 will be affected by new district lines.
For maps of the new district boundaries, visit alexandriava.gov/Elections and click on Where Can I Find Maps of the Proposed Changes?
Precinct boundaries have also changed. Two precincts in Alexandria have become oversized, not by legal standards, but in terms of Election Day manageability: Lee Center and Cora Kelly, which are each approaching 5,000 registered voters. As a solution, the Alexandria Electoral Board recommended minor boundary changes that will affect about 1,200 voters in the Lee Center/Lyles Crouch precincts and 2,800 voters in the Cora Kelly/Mount Vernon/George Washington precincts.
After a public hearing on Saturday, May 14, the Alexandria City Council adopted the ordinance to adjust boundaries of these five precincts. Pending Justice Department approval, these changes will take effect for the August 23 Primary Election. View City Council Docket Memo and the maps at http://dockets.alexandriava.gov/fy11/051011rm/di10.pdf.
Police Department Reports Historic Low Crime Rate; Dispatchers Receive National Honor
The Alexandria Police Department has recently marked two important achievements in its history: a historic low in crime, and national recognition for its emergency response.
In calendar year 2010, total Part 1 crime (homicide, robbery, burglary and auto theft) decreased by 0.9%, or 33 offenses. Rapes increased slightly by five offenses, aggravated assaults increased by ten offenses and larceny increased by fifty offenses. Despite the increases, overall, this represents the lowest annual total of such crimes in Alexandria since 1966.
In March, the City’s Department of Emergency Communications received the First Responder Award, presented by the E9-1-1 Institute as part of the 9-1-1 Honors Gala. The First Responder Award is given in appreciation of the dedicated professionals in law enforcement, fire, rescue, and telecommunications who assist in resolving an emergency situation. In July 2010, seven dispatchers and a supervisor took immediate action when an armed carjacking suspect ran into a crowded City Hall. They simultaneously coordinated more than 30 officers responding to the call, and initiated the city’s Reverse 9-1-1 system to alert the surrounding residential neighborhood. Their quick, organized response contributed to the successful apprehension of the suspect, and no one was harmed.
Summertime = Air Quality Action Days!
The City of Alexandria has begun its annual “Air Quality Action Days” program to increase public awareness about the dangers of air pollution and ground-level ozone, or “smog.”
From May through September, air quality is regionally forecast for the following day and is designated as purple, red, orange, yellow or green (with purple and red designations indicating the unhealthiest air). Weather characteristics of Air Quality Action Days include sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-80s or above, stagnant air with little or no wind and little chance of rain. Forecasted purple and red days will be shown in a display located in the Market Square Lobby of City Hall, and an Air Quality Alert will appear City’s public homepage by 4 p.m. the day before an Air Quality Action Day to keep you informed.
On those days, take voluntary actions to reduce air pollution—such as using mass transit, postponing mowing the lawn, or refueling your car after dusk. Persons with respiratory illnesses or chronic health issues should also pay close attention to these forecasts. For more information on the City’s Air Quality Action Days program or air quality, contact Erica Bannerman with T&ES, Office of Environmental Quality, at 703.746.4065 or visit alexandriava.gov/oeq.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy the outdoors:
- Use sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher.
- Seek shade and drink plenty of f luids.
- Wear sunglasses, a hat and sun-protective clothing.
Find more useful tips on alexandriava.gov/Health.
Watch Mayor Euille Today
In the latest edition of Mayor Euille Today, the Mayor speaks with Acting City Manager Bruce Johnson about his management and leadership strategies for the City and the fiscal year 2012 budget; and talks with Library Director Rose Dawson about the unique, exciting opportunities for the community at Alexandria’s libraries.
Tune in to Comcast Cable Channel 69 on Tuesdays (8:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (6:30 p.m.) or on the Web at alexandriava.gov/MayorEuilleToday .
Saturday, June 25
Northern Virginia Housing Opportunities Expo 2011
T. C. Williams High School
3330 King Street
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Learn about homeownership and rental opportunities in Northern Virginia in an expo hosted by the Northern Virginia Housing Alliance, the City of Alexandria and Falls Church, Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudon Counties, the Town of Herndon, Cardinal Bank and George Mason Mortgage. Admission is free.
Tuesday, June 28
Fourth Annual Mentor Recruitment Cruise on the Potomac River
Dockside Reception at 6:30 p.m.
Cruise Begins at 7:30
Arrival time at 9:30 p.m.
The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership will hold its Fourth Annual Mentor Recruitment Cruise on the Potomac River, aboard the Miss Christin, courtesy of the generosity of the Potomac Riverboat Company.
Mentors are needed for Alexandria’s youth. You can become a mentor through one of our ten mentoring programs operating in Alexandria and make a difference in the life of a child in your community. Mentoring an average of just once a week is proven to help decrease the risk of crime, drug abuse, gang involvement, teen pregnancy and poor school performance.
On Tuesday, June 28, the fun begins at 6:30 p.m., with a dockside reception; the cruise pushes off at 7:30 p.m. and returns at 9:30 p.m. There is no charge for the cruise; however, space is limited to the first 100 respondents. RSVP to Loralei Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us for food, fun and a desire to help our community! Visit alexandriava.gov/Mentoring for more information.