Monthly Newsletter from Chairman Sharon Bulova
June 2014

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova 

 

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In This Issue
Evolution of the Workplace
Celebrate Fairfax!
Silver Line Updates
Mason Neck Outdoor Challenege
50+ Employment Expo
New Famer's Market
Summer Concerts

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Do you have questions, concerns, or ideas for the County? Please contact my office.

 

703.324.2321 TTY 711

 

chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov

 

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Greetings,  

 

When it comes to reading for pleasure, I enjoy books about real life survival against all odds and elements. Some of my favorites are Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and Frozen in Time. My most recent "good read" is Deep Survival, a best seller by Laurence Gonzales. The author provides a fascinating look into survival - why some people overcome catastrophic events and others do not.

  

One of the author's conclusions is that survivors are able to quickly reach realistic conclusions about their situation and deal in the "here and now" rather than waiting for things to get better, or for someone to save them. The survivor assesses his or her plight and decides, "This is my new reality. What do I need to do to be safe?"

 

I couldn't help thinking about Fairfax County as I read the last pages of this book. Former County Executive Tony Griffin, when releasing his first Great Recession-era budget in 2009, admonished that we were dealing in a "new normal."

 

The budget process that year included an intensive weeks-long Board of Supervisors Lines-of-Business Review of all County operations. Briefings and discussions took place throughout the County via thirty or more Community Dialogs that engaged County residents in consideration of their priorities. Suggestions were offered for reconciling levels of service with vastly reduced revenue expectations. What might have seemed pessimistic at the time looks pretty right-on looking back in 2014.

 

We are indeed experiencing a new normal. The world has changed as a result of the economic collapse and tepid recovery that our country has endured. Uncertainty at the federal and state level has affected local governments, non-profits and our business community. Budgets have been strained by falling revenues while needs have grown.

 

Looking back over the past five years, I'm proud of Fairfax County's measured and constructive response to the difficult climate in which we have found ourselves. The community, working with County staff and elected officials, has come together to consider ways to reduce programs and services without destroying the quality of life we value and depend upon. We have taken positive steps to shore up and improve the economy. As our County, region and country continue to struggle, it is important that we maintain the resolve that has kept us on an enviable even keel.

 

See inside this issue of the Byline for the latest news and on-going efforts to keep Fairfax County the great place it is to live, work, play and grow older comfortably.

 

Meals Tax

 

During Public Hearings on the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, many speakers called for the Board to hold a referendum to consider a meals tax. In May, following difficult budget deliberations, I convened a Task Force to consider the issue of a Meals Tax. Most of the jurisdictions within and around Fairfax County have a tax on restaurant meals. Cities and towns in Virginia are allowed to adopt a meals tax by a vote of the governing body. Counties, however, must put this question to the voters resulting in a successful referendum in order to acquire this source of revenue. A 4% meals tax in Fairfax County would raise about $88 million, equal to four cents on the real estate tax rate.

 

The mission of the Task force is to consider three questions:

  1. Should the Board of Supervisors put the question of a meals tax to the voters?
  2. If yes, when? (i.e. what year?)
  3. What should funding from a meals tax be used for?

The Task Force is chaired by two former Chairmen of the Board of Supervisors, former Secretary of the Commonwealth Kate Hanley and Congressman Tom Davis. To read more about this effort, you can go to the County's web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mealstax/. All meetings are held at the Government Center and are public. Agendas and materials are also available online.

 

Silver Line Metro Extension

 

Inside this Byline, see the latest breaking news on the Silver Line, the extension of Metro that will connect Maryland and the District of Columbia to Tysons, Herndon and Reston. Passenger service will soon begin on Phase 1 of the Silver Line and construction will soon be apparent as Phase 2 will extend service all the way to Dulles Airport and to the Ashburn area of Loudoun County.

 

 

Fun Stuff!

 

I hope you will join me for some of the fun activities my office is planning during the weeks and months ahead. See inside for information about the third installment of my Evolution Series - Evolution of the Workplace that will take place on Monday June 9th at 7 p.m. RSVP today!

 

See also information about our wonderful new Farmers Market here at the Government Center, along with Evenings on the Ellipse, happening every Thursday starting in July. We have a great line up of talent for these evening concerts and will be featuring food trucks for the first time - so come hungry!

 

Opening day of the Government Center Farmers Market with Kristen Auerbach and Tawny Hammond - Photo by Michael Liberman  

 

Thanks for reading this Byline and thank you for being an informed and engaged member of our Fairfax County community!

 

Sincerely,

  

 

Sharon Bulova

Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors  

 

Evolution of the Workplace

 

I will be hosting the third installment of my annual Evolution series on June 9, 2014 from 7pm - 9pm in the Government Center Board Auditorium. Past programs include the Evolution of Fairfax (2012) and the Evolution of Transportation (2013). This year's program is titled the Evolution of the Workplace and is designed to be a fun and interesting look at how work, workers, and the workplace have evolved over time and what the workplace of the future will look like. The program will consider how changing work needs and preferences will affect growth, development and transportation in our County. All are welcome to attend.

 

Speakers:

 

Philip Auerswald, Presidential Fellow and Associate Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University

 

Matthew Cain, General Manager of Regus

 

Jim Egenrieder, NOVA SySTEMic Solutions

 

Our panel will be moderated by Dr. Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. The keynote speech on the generational differences in the modern workplace will be delivered by Tim Howald of CPS HR Consulting.

 

SHOW US WHERE YOU'VE WORKED!  Do you have a photo of a favorite Fairfax County workplace, home, or memory? Send us your old photos to be featured in a fun and interesting multimedia slideshow at the Evolution event on June 9. Please include a short description of the photo and the names of those photographed. Please send photos to chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov. All submissions welcome!

RSVP for the event here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/chairman/workplace.htm. If you have any questions, please call (703) 324-2321. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

Celebrate Fairfax!

 

Celebrate Fairfax! is Northern Virginia's largest community-wide celebration, and is happening this weekend, June 6-8 at the Fairfax County Government Center! This amazing festival is presented every year by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc, and hosts tens of thousands of visitors during the three-day run.

 

This weekend, the Government Center property will be magically transformed with more than 300 exhibitors, food vendors, crafters and fun activities for people of all ages! Celebrate Fairfax! showcases a petting zoo, karaoke showdowns, carnival rides, nightly fireworks, live concerts and great festival foods.

 

This year's Main Stage features top national headline performers including The All American Rejects, Cheap Trick and The Hunts. For more information, visit celebratefairfax.com and let the fun begin!

 

Don't miss the fireworks at Celebrate Fairfax!

 

Silver Line Updates

 

I am happy to report that the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority has transferred control of the first phase of the Silver Line to Metro. Metro now has 90 days to test the rail line and train employees before service begins. When the Silver Line opens this summer, it will run from Wiehle-Reston to Largo Town Center in Maryland. The line will serve five new stations: McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, and Wiehle-Reston.

 

On June 4, I convened a number of architects, landscape architects, lighting designers and artists in a design charrettee to develop some possible art designs and concepts to help beautify the concrete rail trestles in between the new Metro stations in Tysons. Public art enhances destinations and helps create a sense of place. I am excited to lead in this effort and will continue to keep you updated as this initiative moves forward. 

Tysons Design Charrette - Photo by Brian Worthy

view more photos 

 

Mason Neck State Park Kicks off "Outdoor Challenge"

 

Recently, Coca-Cola launched the America is Your Park Campaign, where park-goers across the nation voted for their favorite parks. I am proud to say that Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Virginia won second place and a $50,000 grant with over 278,000 votes! 

 

Mason Neck is using the grant to fund an "Outdoor Challenge," complete with interactive education displays and fun activities to get kids off the couch and into the outdoors. Visit Mason Neck State Park to participate in fun challenges that encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.

 

Governor McAuliffe joined us at Mason Neck State Park to celebrate the "Outdoor Challenge" kick-off

 

50+ Employment Expo

 

Between 2005 and 2030, Fairfax County expects the "50 and over" population to increase by 40%, and the "70 and over" population to increase by 88%. The Board of Supervisors has partnered with the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging to ensure that our County remains an attractive, active, and vibrant community where people want to stay as they enter into retirement.

 

Not all "older folks," however, are necessarily interested in retiring. Many County residents are looking for opportunities to give back to the community in "encore" careers and job experiences, or are looking to launch careers for the first time after the kids have left the nest. That is why on Friday, May 30, the Jewish Council for the Aging, AARP and Capital Business of the Washington Post sponsored a 50+ Employment Expo right here at the Government Center. This job expo was one of the first initiatives of Fairfax County's 50+ Action Plan, which was commissioned by the Board of Supervisors to make sure Fairfax County remains welcoming and accessible for the older population. Workshops on resume building, interviewing skills, IT tips, and ways to start and grow your business gave job seekers some helpful tools as they seek new opportunities in the workplace. I look forward to working with the community to make sure Fairfax County remains a great place for everyone to live, work and play in all stages of life.

 

 

Famer's Market at the Government Center

 

 

 

 

Evenings on the Ellipse Summer Concerts

 

I am pleased to announce that my office, in partnership with the Fairfax County Park Authority, will once again host the Evenings on the Ellipse Summer Concert Series in the "backyard" of the Government Center.

  

During the summer season, Fairfax County employees and all music-loving residents have the opportunity to end each Thursday with an Evenings on the Ellipse Concert from 5:30pm to 7:00pm on the back lawn of the Government Center. This series was hugely successful last year and I look forward to continuing the event this summer.

 

Our County's two wineries, The Winery at Bull Run and Paradise Springs Winery, will also join us this year for weekly wine tastings during the concerts. For the first time, we will also have food trucks!

 

For additional information, please call (703) 324-2321 or email christina.fullmer@fairfaxcounty.gov.