FYI Alexandria - March 3, 2017

Page archived as of March 18, 2017

Welcome to FYI Alexandria!

In this issue, learn about the City Manager's FY 2018 Proposed Budget; the City's Strategic Plan; and how bystanders and first responders helped save the life of a cardiac arrest victim at the Braddock Road Metro Station.

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Top News

City Manager Mark B. Jinks Proposes Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

Proposed Operating Budget FY 2018On February 21, City Manager Mark B. Jinks presented Alexandria City Council with a proposed General Fund Operating Budget of $712.5 million and an All Funds Budget of $873.7 million, which represent increases over the current year of 3.5% and 2.5%, respectively. This budget includes $242.6 million in operating funds and debt service for public schools (a 3.6% or $8.4 million increase over FY 2017 funding), and invests $2.0 billion over 10 years in Alexandria's Capital Improvement Program.  The City Manager's proposed operating budget funds 99% of the Alexandria City Public Schools' proposed operating budget for FY 2018.

"Alexandria is at a crossroads," said Jinks. "My proposals reflect a future-oriented path by prudently investing in needed services, public buildings and infrastructure. This path is longer and initially more costly than a path of reduced services and foregone investments, but it can help maintain a high quality of life and keep our community in a sound social, economic and physical condition."

The proposed 10-year Capital Improvement Program includes $373 million in proposed school capital projects funding, which reflects a $144 million (or 63%) increase in funding for school capital projects for the Alexandria City Public Schools to address enrollment-driven capacity needs; substantially increased funding of $160.6 million to improve Metro safety and reliability; and $386 million for accelerated combined sewer outfall projects.

To account for stagnant revenue growth, the proposed budget includes an increase in the real estate tax rate of 2.7 cents, from $1.073 to $1.10 per $100 of assessed value.  This would increase the average homeowner's tax bill by 3.5%, or $197 per year, which is the lowest dollar increase to the average real estate tax bill in five years. Alexandria's real estate tax rate would remain among the lowest in Northern Virginia for homeowners and the lowest for commercial property owners.  There are no proposed increases in any other tax rates.

A new stormwater utility fee is proposed to be applied to all residential and non-residential property owners to pay for costly new federal and state mandates.  This would fund stormwater management more equitably than by raising the real estate tax, since a fee would shift stormwater management costs to the properties with greater impact on stormwater runoff.  The average homeowner would pay $70 for the second half of FY 2018.  Smaller residential properties would pay less, and very large homes would pay more.  Non-residential properties would pay a fee based on the impervious surface area they contain. Revenue from the stormwater utility fee is projected to raise $4.2 million in FY 2018.

Although the City has already been actively working to significantly reduce sewage overflows from its four combined sewer outfalls, a further and overly aggressive acceleration is expected to be required under legislation advancing through the General Assembly.  Revenue for these projects would come from a 30% increase in the sanitary sewer fee in FY 2018 (from $1.40 to $1.82 per thousand gallons), with a potential projected increase of as much as 500% over the next decade.

The balanced budget proposal is consistent with City Council's guidance and reflects City Council's Strategic Plan, analysis in the City's Five-Year Financial Plan, the City Manager's budget priorities, and extensive input from community engagement meetings and online forums.  The budget underscores the City's investment in its workforce by funding merit increases for employees who earn them through performance, and creating a pay incentive for dual-role firefighter/medic staff.

City Council will hold 10 work sessions throughout the spring to review the proposed budget with City staff; a special budget public hearing on March 13; and a tax rate public hearing on April 22. All sessions are open to the public and will be recorded and posted online. The public may submit comments online, or speak at the public presentations and hearings.

For the full City Manager's message to City Council, the proposed budget details, public budget presentation, a schedule of public meetings, and online comments, visit

Bystanders and First Responders Save Cardiac Arrest Victim

Bystanders and First Responders Save Cardiac Arrest Victim On the morning of January 31, the Alexandria Fire Department Engine and Medic 205 and EMS 232 were dispatched to the Braddock Road Metro station for a report of a man who had collapsed on the train platform. The dispatch was later upgraded to report a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)  in progress.  A bystander, Debra Anderson, began CPR, accompanied by Metro Transit Police Officer Joanne Dill.  In addition to CPR, Officer Dill used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help the victim establish an effective heart rhythm. Alexandria EMS and Fire units arrived at the station within minutes, took over CPR, and initiated advanced life support procedures. The victim was transported to INOVA Alexandria Hospital, where medical staff continued life-saving care.  

This incident is an excellent example of how immediate action – CPR, followed by advanced cardiac care and transportation to a medical facility – can help save a life. The incident also underscores the importance of community education and training in CPR, a technique that helps preserve blood flow to the brain and heart, and can help "buy time" until more advanced care arrives.

CPR, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person's chance of survival. The American Red Cross recommends that at least one person in every household and place of business receive training in CPR and proper use of an AED. This training can give them the knowledge and confidence to respond during an emergency situation with skills that can help save a life.

Help save a life: learn CPR. For information on CPR and local training courses, visit

Alexandrians Invited to Nominate Local Environmental Stewards

Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence AwardThe Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises invite nominations to recognize members of the Alexandria community who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and work to sustain local natural resources. Nominations must be received by March 30, 2017.

The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award will be presented at the 2017 Alexandria Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Lenny Harris Memorial Fields at Braddock Park, 1005 Mt. Vernon Ave. The theme of this year's event is "Clean Water Starts with YOU!" The event will include educational exhibits, hands-on activities for children, art, and a celebration of the natural environment with a focus on local waterways to support this year's theme.

Applicants Sought for the Torpedo Factory Art Center Task Force

The Alexandria Commission for the Arts is accepting applications for the Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) Community Engagement Process Task Force. Task force members will be expected to attend monthly meetings as well as participate in the various community engagement activities (i.e. open house events, town halls, focus groups, etc.). The community engagement process is expected to take approximately 6-8 months.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. The five members will include two members of the Commission for the Arts, two members of the community at large (one representing a local business owner), and one leaseholder from the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The members of the task force will be selected through an open application process to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate.

City Council Meeting Highlights

January 28: Public Hearing

Alexandria City Council Adopts Strategic Plan for FY 2017 to FY 2022

Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted a Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2022. The Plan will be used by City Council and staff to guide the City's direction and priorities for the next five years.

"The Strategic Plan is a vital tool to help us shape Alexandria's next steps," said Mayor Allison Silberberg. "We are fortunate that so many members of the community contributed their voices to define a vision and goals for the future of our beloved, historic city."

The Strategic Plan embodies a vision for 2022 in which Alexandria is a historic, inclusive city of kindness, with distinct, vibrant and safe neighborhoods; a well-managed government; flourishing arts, culture and recreation; a strong economy; thriving children and youth; active and secure older adults; environmental sustainability; healthy residents of all ages; and multimodal transportation.  To achieve this vision, the Plan lays out 10 thematic areas, with key indicators and action items for each.  This enables staff and the community to clearly identify measurable goals and deliverables with which to track progress.

The City's first Strategic Plan was adopted in 2004, and updated in 2006 and 2010. The current plan was developed with extensive community participation and contributions from all City departments, including 14 in-person and online public meetings. Hundreds of residents and business representatives also provided input through AlexEngage, the City's online engagement platform.

For more information, visit

In The Community

Seventh Annual Northern Virginia Housing Expo

Mercy Street Costumes

Looking for an affordable place to live in Northern Virginia? Plan to visit the 2017 Northern Virginia Housing Expo, which will be held at Dominion High School in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Expo showcases both homeownership and rental opportunities and resources throughout Northern Virginia.  The event will feature workshops and exhibits about location options, being prepared for buying or renting, understanding and improving credit scores, improving energy efficiency and more. A growing list of free workshops and exhibitors can be found at the Housing Expo website as the event approaches. Refreshments will also be available for purchase during the event.

To make the 2017 Northern Virginia Housing Expo as accessible as possible, organizers are providing free shuttle service on the half hour from the Spring Hill Metrorail Station. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 18, shuttles will carry visitors right to the doors of Dominion High School in Sterling, where this year's expo is being held, with the last shuttle returning to Spring Hill at 3:30 p.m., after the end of the expo.

The Housing Expo is hosted by Fairfax-based nonprofit AHOME Foundation, in cooperation with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun, and the Town of Herndon. For additional information, visit the Housing News and Announcements page.

PBS' Mercy Street Season Finale and New Alexandria Experiences

Mercy Street CostumesDon't miss the season finale of the PBS Civil War-era drama Mercy Street on Sunday, March 5, at 8 p.m. ET. As Season 2 comes to a close, fans, visitors and history buffs alike are invited to take part in 40 new Mercy Street-inspired experiences, including a new exhibit of Mercy Street costumes at The Lyceum, Alexandria's History Museum, and new tours for spring. Mercy Street, PBS' first original American drama in a decade, is inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria and highlights Civil War medicine, the changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of emancipated African-Americans claiming their freedom. Learn more at

Photo: A new exhibition, The Costumes of PBS' Mercy Street, is now on display at The Lyceum through September 1.

City Scene

Rethink Your Commute! SafeTrack Surge #13

Rethink Your Commute! SafeTrack Surge #13 will run from March 4 through April 9.  With significant crowding and delays expected, Alexandria riders are advised to use alternatives to Metrorail during this Surge. During this time, Blue and Yellow line trains will run less frequently due to a 24/7 work zone between Braddock Rd and Huntington/Van Dorn St stations.  

National Mentoring Month

News Releases

2/28 - Spring/Summer Program Guide Now Available

2/28 - FY 2018 Community Matching Fund Application Process Now Open

2/28 - Public Invited to Attend Community Pre-Construction Meeting for the Warwick Pool and Pool House Replacement Project

2/28 - Rethink Your Commute: Metro SafeTrack Surge #13 Begins March 4

2/23 - The Alexandria Commission for the Arts is Accepting Applications for the Torpedo Factory Art Center Community Engagement Process Task Force

2/21 - Four Indicted for Exploiting an Elderly Adult

2/21 - Alexandria City Manager Mark B. Jinks Proposes Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

2/15 - Alexandria City Manager to Make Public Presentation of FY 2018 Budget

2/14 - City of Alexandria Issues 2017 Real Estate Assessments

2/14 - City of Alexandria Announces Schedule of Services for 2017 George Washington Day Holiday

2/14 - Mental Health Training Options Available in Alexandria

2/13 - City of Alexandria to Hold Open House on 72-Hour Parking Rule

2/12 - City of Alexandria to host Cameron Run Park Planning Process Community Meeting #1

2/10 - City of Alexandria Takes Additional Steps Regarding Former Gas Plant

Upcoming Events

For more events, visit .