Monthly Newsletter from Chairman Sharon Bulova

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova


In This Issue
Budget Timeline
Express Bus to D.C.
Women's Suffrage
Transition Policy Council
County Retains AAA Bond Rating
Intergovernmental Service Agreement
REACH Hotline
Opioid Crisis
Free Prom Dresses for Teens
Stuff the Bus
All-Stars Youth Orchestra

Sign up for the Bulova Byline 

 Join Our Mailing List

Stay Connected

                     February 2018

In our never ending quest for certainty, the one thing we can be sure about is that there will be change.  The other thing we can be certain of is that our initial reaction to change is to dislike or resist it - unless we are part of making that change happen.   

Fairfax County's demographic profile has changed significantly over a relatively short period of time.  On average, our population is older, better educated and more diverse when compared to the mid 1900's when most of our neighborhoods, shopping centers and commercial areas were developed. When I bought my brand new home in Kings Park West in 1971, the median age of a county resident was 25. The median family income was about $16,000 and that L shaped rambler on Orchardson Court cost about $30,000. 

According to Fairfax County's 2017 Demographics Report, our median household income is $115,717, one of the highest in the nation, and the estimated median market value of a single family detached home in Fairfax County is $623,532. The advancing Boomer generation will soon dramatically tip age statistics for residents 65 and older.  
Just as our demographics have changed, so have our lifestyles.  Shoppers can sit down and have a nice meal in many of our grocery stores. We communicate using mobile phones that we carry around with us everywhere. We can find almost everything we have questions about on Google. Being disabled doesn't mean we can't participate fully in the workplace and community. 

Managing change, and helping the community to work through that change, is the bread and butter of local government. If we are successful, people are satisfied that they have had a role in shaping change. If we are not, people are frustrated at being left out of the decision-making process. 
These thoughts were running through my mind last week at the rollout out for zMOD, an update and restructuring of our County Zoning Ordinance and Revisions to Land Uses.  At what might have been considered a pretty dry topic for an evening meeting, Conference Room 4/5 at the Government Center was packed. 

T he Zoning Ordinance and related documents determine how  property can be used in Fairfax County; whether a lot may contain a residence or
zMOD public meeting held on January 24, 2018
a commercial building, how 
many dogs can be kept in a home, what occupations  are allowed in a home and what kind of business activity can take place in commercial buildings. These are topics that our residents and corporate neighbors care deeply about. 
Fairfax County first adopted a Zoning Ordinance on February 5, 1941. It has been updated throughout the following years and decades until it is now quite voluminous. It also contains some confusing and even conflicting guidance through a patchwork of amendments and updates.  For an amusing stroll through our past, you can see the evolution of zoning from our rural roots to the present by visiting our Department of Planning and Zoning website and clicking on " Historical Zoning Ordinance ." An update in 1951 made me smile to read that "tourist camps, tourist courts, motor courts and tourist cabins" were now permitted uses in the Industrial District without a Use Permit. Love it!
The purpose of zMOD is to make our zoning documents and processes easier to understand and more user-friendly.  Doing so will rely on the participation of members of the community, whether by just staying informed or by becoming more deeply involved.  I invite you to learn more about zMOD and how you can be part of the process.
As I write this opening Byline article, I am reminded of a previous posting about a Giving Tree  that grows in historic Colchester. During the mid-1900's, while our present day homes and businesses were being developed, this tree was already growing above a deeply buried colonial trash pit. County archeologists seeking to learn more about this now lost settlement at the mouth of the Occoquan River discovered that every so often, a piece of dishware or some other artifact would appear at the base of this tree, probably the result of subtle movements in the earth combined with erosion, and evidence of the past that was here.  Evidence of change.  


Sharon Bulova
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Upcoming Budget Season Timeline
The FY2019 Budget Season is upon us!  Adopting a budget is the most important thing local government does every year. When developing and passing a budget, the Board of Supervisors works hard to strike the right balance between keeping taxes affordable, and maintaining the quality services residents expect and rely upon.

The County Executive will release a draft budget for the Board of Supervisors and the community to consider on February 20, 2018. This is called the County Executive's Advertised Budget, which includes funding recommendations for general county services and the school transfer.

The Board of Supervisors will propose an Advertised Tax Rate on March 6, 2018. The Advertised Tax Rate serves as a ceiling for how high the Adopted Tax Rate for FY2019 can ultimately be. The Board of Supervisors can adopt a tax rate that is the same as or lower than the Advertised Tax Rate, but not higher.

Hearing feedback, ideas, issues and concerns from the community through emails, letters, phone calls, town hall meetings and budget public hearings is an essential part of the budget process. The Board of Supervisors will listen to what members of the community have to say in response to the Advertised Budget and the Advertised Tax Rate. Budget public hearings will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center on April 10, 11 and 12, 2018.

Based on extensive engagement from the community, the Board of Supervisors will make changes to the County Executive's Advertised Budget. This editing process is called Budget Markup and will occur on April 24, 2018.

Finally, o n May 1, 2018 , the Board of Supervisors will adopt the FY2019 Budget and FY2019 Tax Rate. The new budget will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

How Our Budget is Built in Fairfax County
How Our Budget is Built in Fairfax County

Ride Stress Free to Washington D.C.
Fairfax Connector Route 699 now provides express bus service from the Fairfax County Government Center, via I-66, directly to major regional employment and educational centers in downtown Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank and The George Washington University Campus.  Free parking with over 400 spaces is available at the park and ride lot at the Fairfax County Government Center. The regular express fare is $4.25, and only $2.10 for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Riders can pay with cash or by using their SmarTrip card. 

This express bus service is funded through the I-66 Commuter Choice Program, which identifies and funds multimodal transportation projects through I-66 Inside the Beltway toll revenues. The goals of the Commuter Choice Program are to move more people, increase opportunities to connect from one mode of travel to another, improve transit service, reduce roadway congestion, and increase travel options. 

Commemorating and Honoring Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote
A little known document, the Declaration of Sentiments, was the result of the first women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY; it spanned two days over July 19-20, 1848. It advertised itself as "a convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman". Among many demands for gender equality, the Declaration called for the enfranchisement  - the right to vote - for all women. Thus formally began the suffrage movement in America. Over five million women advocated for the right to vote for more than seven decades until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920. 
In 1917, scores of suffragists were arrested, dragged to court and thrown into prison for silently picketing in front of the White House for the right to vote. Many were sent to the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton where they were beaten, forced to work, slept in rat infested cells on urine soaked mattresses, and were fed maggot-infested food. When word leaked out about the inhumane treatment, it became a major turning point in the women's suffrage movement. 
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is dedicated to elevating this great expansion of democracy to its proper place in history with a national memorial that will be built in Occoquan Regional Park; this land is part of the historic prison grounds where the Silent Sentinels were jailed and tortured. Monument elements will tell the complete suffrage story. The memorial will be a cornerstone of the redeveloped park, which includes a waterfront banquet facility opening this spring and an enhanced marina. The memorial is scheduled to be dedicated on August 26, 2020, the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. To learn how you can help make the memorial a reality by donating or volunteering, please call 703-201-3171 or visit
The Workhouse Prison Museum is another location that offers great insight into the Women's Suffrage Movement. The Workhouse Prison Museum is located in Building W-9 at the Workhouse Arts Center, and is open to the public (free admission) every Wednesday through Friday from 12 - 3pm, and on weekends from 12 - 4pm. Each year, the Workhouse Arts Center offers 800 classes, 300 performances, and 100 exhibits to the general public.  Once the Workhouse Arts Center meets its goal of $500,000 to build and install new exhibits, the Prison Museum will move to the newly renovated Building 2 and will be renamed after the suffragist Lucy Burns - the Lucy Burns Museum. To learn more about getting involved with the museum through donations or volunteering, please call 703-584-2917 or visit
Thank you to Patricia Depew Wirth, Executive Director of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association, and Ava Spece, President & CEO of the Workhouse Arts Foundation, who contributed to this article.
Council Offers Recommendations for Governor's New Administration 
Governor Ralph Northam's Transition Policy Council on Local Government convened in Richmond on December 19, 2017, resulting in seven key recommendation areas for the Governor's new administration to consider. Mayor McKinley Price of the City of Newport News and I served as co-chairs of the policy council. It was a pleasure to work with my colleagues from around the Commonwealth to share concerns and to provide recommendations and direction for our then Governor-Elect, Ralph Northam, and his new Administration. The council's key recommendation topics are listed below, and the full report can be read here.
  1. State and local tax reform and unfunded mandates
  2. K-12 public education issues
  3. Review of local government authority (including local land use planning)
  4. Health and human services (including the provision of local mental health and substance abuse services)
  5. Additional local government services (public safety [to include jails])
  6. Infrastructure (public works, transportation and broadband access)
  7. Economic development and revitalization
Fairfax County Retains Triple-A Bond Rating, Holds Successful Bond Sale
Fairfax County has retained our Triple-A bond rating, the highest bond rating available by all three national ratings agencies: Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service.  The high bond ratings mean that the county can sell its municipal bonds at a very low interest rate, saving millions for taxpayers, estimated at $815.9 million since 1975. This enables us to use those funds to renovate and build schools and police stations and other critical infrastructure needs.

The favorable bond ratings enabled us to sell bonds to Citigroup Global Markets Inc. at a low interest rate of 2.66 percent on Jan. 9, 2018. 
These Series 2018A bonds generated  $251.8 million to fund (after costs of issuance) the following project areas:
  • Schools: $155 million
  • Transportation Improvements and Facilities: $45.8 million
  • Parks and Parks Facilities: $23 million
  • Storm Drainage Facilities: $10 million
  • Public Safety: $8 million
  • Human Services: $5 million
  • Libraries: $5 million
County voters approved these bond projects during elections held from 2012 to 2016. Read on Fairfax County's NewsCenter.
Sheriff to No Longer Hold Inmates Past Release Date Without Court Issued Criminal Detainer  
I've heard from a number of community members regarding the  Fairfax County Sheriff's recent announcement to terminate the Intergovernmental Service Agreement with ICE. Some residents expressed confusion as to what this agreement is, and what changes will result from ending it. First of all, let me say that the Sheriff is  an elected constitutional officer and does not report to the Board of Supervisors. I do, however, support her decision to end the Intergovernmental Service Agreement, under which  the Sheriff was holding inmates in the jail up to 48 hours beyond the time inmates had finished serving their sentence if ICE asked for extra time to come pick them up. Most jurisdictions in Virginia don't have this kind of contract with ICE. Holding inmates longer than their sentence exten ds the local resources of the County jail beyond their obligations.

When the Intergovernmental Service Agreement officially ends on May 23, 2018, ICE will need to pick people up from the County jail prior to or on their release date. If ICE requests more time and submits a detainer request accompanied by a criminal detainer issued by a court, the Sheriff will honor that and will hold the inmate up to 48 hours longer.

The Sheriff's Office, our public safety agencies, and Fairfax County Government as a whole continue to cooperate with all federal, state and local authorities to keep our community safe. The Sheriff's Office sends all fingerprints of inmates to a state database, which all local, state and national law enforcement agencies, including ICE, have access to. Per State law, ICE may take custody of an inmate in our jail up to five days in advance of that inmate's scheduled release date, or get a court-issued criminal detainer if they need a couple extra days to come pick that person up.

It is important for residents to remember that just because someone is undocumented and ends up in jail does not mean that person is part of a gang. Fairfax County does offer resources for youth who might be a target for gang recruitment, and encourages the community to know what to look for. As your Chairman, I of course want everyone in our community to be safe. I also believe we need to put an end to the rhetoric that conflates all immigrants with gang activity. 

REACH Hotline Available for People with Developmental Disabilities 
If someone you care about who has a developmental disability is experiencing a crisis due to behavioral or psychiatric needs, you can call the  REACH hotline at  855-897-8278.  Referrals can be made by family members, CSB Emergency Services, case managers and other service providers. REACH services include mobile crisis response teams for crisis stabilization and prevention for adults and youth, as well as a crisis therapeutic home option for adults in need of short-term crisis stabilization and prevention outside of their home (30 days or less for crisis stays and 5 days or less for prevention stays). Just a reminder, in the case of a life threatening emergency, please call 911. 

Mitigate the Risk of Overdose - Safely Dispose of Expired Medications 
In an effort to help curb abuse and misuse of prescription drugs, Walmart is providing a free opioid disposal solution in all company pharmacies. Known as DisposeRx , the small packet contains ingredients that, according to the manufacturer, when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, enable patients to responsibly dispose of leftover medications in their trash. 
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 65 percent of people misusing prescription opioids are getting them from family and friends, and personal prescriptions are one of the main sources of nonmedical opioid abuse. That is why it is important to dispose of expired or unused medications in your home, and to always do so safely

In addition, the Fairfax County Police Department launched a Drug Take Back Box pilot program at the West Springfield District Station last fall, where residents can anonymously drop off unused or expired prescription drugs any day of the week, 24/7. 
Formal Dress Drive at Reston Community Center 
Did you know that the average teen spends up to $700 for formal events, such as prom? Based on information from Yahoo Style's 2017 Prom Across America Survey, this generally includes the cost of attire, hair and makeup, admission tickets and transportation services. The Reston Community Center (RCC) helps teens reduce some of these expenses through the 16th annual Diva Central Dress Giveaway event on Saturday, March 24. A pop-up boutique will feature gorgeous dresses, shoes, accessories and handbags. Any current middle school or high school student can create one entire outfit to take home - for free. Students can drop in anytime between 12:00pm - 6:00pm at RCC Lake Anne to find a beautiful outfit to wear to an upcoming dance. 
If you would like to donate items from your closet, RCC is collecting formal dresses, shoes and accessories from February 1 - 28. Please bring your donations to an RCC location:

RCC at Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road)
RCC at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza)

You are welcome to drop off donations anytime from 9:00am - 9:00pm Monday through Saturday, or 9:00am - 8:00pm on Sunday.  Pleasure ensure donations are "dressy attire," dry cleaned, no more than five years old, and in good condition. Thank you for supporting teens in Fairfax County and for helping make their next formal dance an event to remember! 

Help Feed Fairfax Families Through Stuff the Bus
As holiday decorations come down and winter months settle in,  many people continue to go hungry in our community. For many local nonprofit food pantries, this is the time of year where  donations drop to one of their lowest points. To help address this need, Fairfax County annually hosts the  Stuff the Bus food drive program. This collaborative program, now in its eighth year, is a partnership among Fairfax County Government, local grocery stores and nonprofit food pantries to restock the shelves.  Fairfax County hosts 14 separate events between January 13 and February 24, 2018 . Each week a Fastran bus staffed by MV Transportation personnel will  park at a different location and collect food donations . All donation hours are from  9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Find an event near you! 

"Frosty the Can Man" helped promote Stuff the Bus this year at the Fairfax County Government Center. This statue made of tuna and black bean cans was showcased at my 2018 New Year Reception, and helped remind everyone to donate canned goods and non-perishable food items! Thank you to Giant and Tysons Corner Center for donating the cans, and to the Fairfax County YORPOS, OP3 and Facilities Management for putting in volunteer hours to help bring our festive snowman to life indoors. 
Talented Students Team Up with Fairfax Symphony Orchestra 
The Fairfax County All-Stars Youth Orchestra is performing alongside the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) this Saturday, February 3 at 8pm at the GMU Center for the Arts Concert Hall. These young musicians, selected through a competitive audition process, received personalized mentoring and coaching from FSO musicians leading up to the collaborative concert. I am looking forward to attending and enjoying this performance! Before the concert at 7pm, you are welcome to j oin GMU faculty composer Mark Camphouse for a discussion with music director Christopher Zimmerman and special guests. Tickets and Additional Information.