Fairfax County Public Schools is proposing some notable updates to its student policies.
At last week’s school board meeting, school officials laid out a number of proposed revisions to its Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook, including how cases of bullying are handled, what’s interpreted as appropriate clothing, and the potential for increased punishment for substance misuse.
The presentation from FCPS Assistant Auperintendent Michelle Boyd was relatively brief due a planned school board work session next week (May 23), which will likely be spent discussing the proposed dress codes updates, Providence District School Board Representative Karl Frisch noted.
Essentially, FCPS is looking to update verbiage around the dress code, which was last reviewed in 2016. The update will not include a ban on pajamas that was initially proposed earlier this year but has since been reconsidered.
Proposed language includes the dress code supporting “equitable educational access” while not reinforcing stereotypes or increasing marginalization:
FCPS’ student dress code supports equitable educational access and is written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, color, national origin, caste, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, medical condition, household income, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.
It also clarifies that the same rules apply “regardless of the student’s age or gender” while providing examples of what isn’t allowed, including clothing that depicts or promotes use of weapons, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
Any violation and enforcement of the dress code will continue to be addressed in a “discreet” manner, showing respect to the student, and “minimizes loss of instructional time.”
“Violations of the dress code should generally be treated as minor infractions unless they are repeated or egregious in nature (e.g., streaking, hate speech),” the current code says.
However, this can leave much open to interpretation for school staff and administration. Several school board members noted that some language could be included to ensure a more standardized interpertation across the school system.
“I know we are trying to thread a needle here between what kids recognize as appropriate dress and not,” Springfield District School Board member Laura Jane Cohen said.
Also being proposed is a shift in what happens when there are alleged acts of bullying. The school system is now seeking to require that a principal or staff member notify a parent or guardian of every student involved in an alleged act of bullying within 24 hours of learning about the incident.
The update would also better define that bullying involves a “power imbalance” and what that could look like.
“Examples of a power imbalance include, but are not limited to, greater physical strength or size, access to embarrassing information, or greater popularity or social connectedness,” reads the updated definition.
Also proposed are updated definitions of harassment, hate speech, and hazing, along with potentially more severe punishments. For example, hazing could become a Level 5 infraction, which is the most severe and could result in law enforcement getting involved.
In addition, students with a first-time hate speech infraction would be required to participate in “culturally responsive intervention.”
FCPS is also tweaking its handling of substance misuse in response to recent incidents. While incidents involving alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants customarily result in a two-day suspension, the school principal can decide to levy even more disciplinary action if the conduct has “substantially disrupted the instructional program [or] endangered the well-being of others.”
This could mean a referral to the superintendent and a suspension of up to 10 days. There are number of other changes being asked for, including rewordings and clarity in terms of verbiage, but as Boyd said, those are “relatively minor in nature.”
After next week’s work session, a revised draft is set to be presented to the school board at the end of the month. The school board is expected to vote and adopt the updated students’ rights and responsibilities by the end of June.
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital will open a new behavioral health unit next week, marking an expansion of mental health care along the Richmond Highway corridor.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held yesterday morning (Tuesday) for the nearly $10 million facility, which will increase bed capacity at the hospital by 67%.
Close to $4 million was donated by Amyia and Jeff Veatch, a local entrepreneur who founded the engineering firm Apex Systems. The family previously donated money to help modernize the hospital’s emergency room.
Hospital leaders and a number of elected officials attended the ceremony, including Rep. Don Beyer, State Sen. Scott Surovell, Del. Paul Krizek, Mount Vernon District School Board Rep. Karen Corbett Sanders, and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck (who had to leave to vote on the county budget).
The Inova Veatch Family Behavioral Health Unit will open to hospital patients on May 16. It will feature 20 additional beds, private rooms, “quiet” spaces, modernized equipment, and enhanced safety features, like impact resistance windows and drywall.
Along with the hospital’s existing adult psychiatric unit, the total capacity for behavioral health patients will now be 50 beds.
As many noted during the ceremony, mental health care and behavioral services have become a priority in Fairfax County, as rates of depression and suicidal thoughts, specifically among young people, have risen drastically in recent years.
“We have a significant shortage of mental health services all over Virginia and especially acute here in Northern Virginia,” Surovell, who represents Hybla Valley, Woodlawn, and parts of Franconia, told FFXnow. “That’s the big reason we need to expand these services. If you don’t have a place for people to go when they need help, it can result in really tragic consequences.”
He called private contributions like the one made by the Veatch family “critical” to expanding care, particularly since behavioral services “are often not the most profitable areas for a hospital to invest in.”
But he said it’s also on the state to make the necessary investments as the need for mental health care continues to skyrocket.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has proposed $230 million in this year’s budget for addressing gaps in behavioral health services. Surovell said that doesn’t go far enough.
“This is about half of what we need because the state is so far behind in investing in behavioral health,” he said.
Mount District Supervisor Dan Storck agreed, stating at the ribbon-cutting that “we’ve never done enough” to provide mental health care both locally and across the country. Adolescent care in particular is lacking, he told FFXnow.
“We need more adolescent psychiatry units. Our adolescents are bearing the brunt of Covid,” Storck said. “They need more support than we can provide. Inova is stepping up in their Fairfax hospital, but that’s still inadequate to our adolescent needs.”
Beyer shared that his son suffers from schizophrenia and has been hospitalized “many times” at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. The additional unit will hopefully provide care to more people in need like his son, he said.
While more resources are needed, the Veatch behavioral health unit and emergency room are potentially life savers for residents of the Richmond Highway corridor, Surovell said.
“They don’t have to travel to either Alexandria [City] or Franconia or Fairfax to get these services,” he said. “Having a facility that’s close can be the difference between life or death for a lot of people.”
Early voting for the 2023 Democratic primary begins today (Friday) in Fairfax County with a number of notable races on the ballot.
Three locations in the county will open this morning for early in-person voting on weekdays through June 17.
Those include the Fairfax County Government Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as well as the Mount Vernon Government Center and North County Governmental Center, both open from 1-7 p.m.
Voting will also be available on two Saturdays — June 10 and 17 — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all three locations.
Starting June 10, 12 government centers and libraries will be open for in-person voting from 1-7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those two Saturdays (June 10 and 17) as well:
- Burke Centre Library (5935 Freds Oak Road)
- Centreville Regional Library (14200 St. Germain Drive)
- Franconia Governmental Center (6121 Franconia Road)
- Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike)
- Herndon-Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street)
- Lorton Community Center (9520 Richmond Highway)
- Mason Governmental Center (6507 Columbia Pike)
- McLean Governmental Center (1437 Balls Hill Road)
- Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive)
- Sully Governmental Center (4900 Stonecroft Blvd)
- Thomas Jefferson Library (7415 Arlington Blvd)
- Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike)
- West Springfield Governmental Center (6140 Rolling Road)
There are also ballot dropboxes at the Fairfax County Governmental Center for those who requested an absentee ballot by mail. One box is inside the complex, and one is outside near the handicapped parking spaces.
Curbside voting will be available for residents who are 65 and older or have a physical disability.
Perhaps the most hotly contested race on the primary ballot is for Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney, with incumbent Steve Descano facing a challenge from prosecutor-turned-defense attorney Ed Nuttall.
In a recent radio talk, Descano accused Nuttall of associating with “MAGA, antisemitic conspiracy theorists,” while Nuttall retorted by calling Descano a “liar” and “incompetent.”
While both are running as Democrats, they have shared differing positions, methods, and visions for the office. No Republican challenger for the seat has emerged.
The Democratic nomination for county sheriff is also up for grabs between incumbent Stacey Kincaid and Herndon High School football coach (and former D.C. police officer) Kelvin Garcia. Kincaid was the county’s first female sheriff when she took office a decade ago. Garcia is positioning himself as a more progressive option.
Elsewhere in local races, all Board of Supervisors seats are up for election in November, but only two incumbents are on the primary ballot: Chairman Jeff McKay, who has been challenged by retired CIA staffer Lisa Downing, and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, who is facing off with Maritza Zermeño. Read More
Troubled trash company Haulin’ Trash has closed its bankruptcy case, leaving thousands of Fairfax County residents unable to get refunds for missed or delayed services.
Back in December, the trash collecting company Haulin’ Trash permanently shuttered after missing a series of collections due to staff shortages and “financial difficulties.” The company had operated in the county for about a year and served approximately 3,000 customers.
To help those residents, Fairfax County temporarily waived landfill disposal fees for former Haulin’ Trash customers.
Fairfax County received more than 300 complaints about the company during its one year of operation, including 147 to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and 188 to the Department of Cable and Consumer Services (DCCS), per officials.
In March, the company officially filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The case was closed early last month, with the company not having enough funds to provide refunds or credits to customers.
“On April 5, 2023, the bankruptcy trustee issued a report of No Distribution-No Funds, and the case was closed on April 6, 2023. No credits or refunds will be issued to affected residents/customers,” DPWES spokesperson Sharon North wrote FFXnow. “To date, Haulin’ Trash has not been responsive to the consumer complaints sent from the County. Because the bankruptcy case is now closed, Fairfax County Consumer Affairs is unable to mediate further.”
DPWES does have a list on its website of other providers for impacted residents.
Haulin’ Trash’s demise came as the county grappled with trash troubles that date back to at least 2019 but worsened during the pandemic. About 90% of residents and businesses are served by private collection companies like Haulin’ Trash.
Complaints against American Disposal Services led to the county asking the Virginia General Assembly for more authority to rework its solid waste management model.
Last fall, DWPES had American Disposal enter into a consent agreement that asked the company to hire more drivers and customer service personnel, increase salaries, and credit customers for missed pick-ups. It also imposed a $5,000 fine on the company.
Since that time, customer complaints against American Disposal have significantly decreased, the county says.
“American Disposal Service has met the requirements of the 2022 Consent Agreement,” North wrote. “Complaints for haulers which operate in Fairfax County are currently at satisfactory levels.”
Only four complaints have been made to DCCS about American Disposal since the beginning of the year, per a spokesperson from the agency.
Despite short-term service problems appearing to be resolved, the county is still looking to make big changes to its solid waste management model.
“DPWES staff are in the process of scoping a major revision to our solid waste management plan to meet state and board directives,” North said. “During this time we will look at alternative options for waste management.”
Fairfax County Public Schools is in the process of instituting new safety and security measures, including vape detection in bathrooms, expanded background checks, and a drone pilot program for the incident response team.
At last week’s school board meeting, FCPS Superintendent Michelle Reid delivered a comprehensive update on several security and safety measures in advance of a “community conversation” on May 8 at South Lakes High School in Reston.
In addition to touching on previously reported steps, like employee background checks and a joint effort with the county to install speed cameras near schools, Reid shared that FCPS is in the midst of a pilot program placing vape detection tools in bathrooms at several schools.
“This will immediately detect use at our schools and we are monitoring its effectiveness right now,” she said. “We think it’s prudent to pilot it to see whether it delivers on its promise before we actually install it in all schools.”
However, Reid later said the installed vape sensors have provided “mixed results so far and I’m not sure that’s the answer.”
The idea for installing sensors of this nature was first broached in 2019, but the program was only first implemented recently.
Vaping is a major concern among parents and schools, not only due to tobacco and marijuana use but because of the potential for overdosing. There have been reported cases where the substances used in vaping cartridges are laced with fentanyl.
The vape detection sensors are currently being used in two high schools and one middle school, an FCPS spokesperson told FFXnow. They declined to specify the exact schools, citing a need to balance information sharing with concerns about compromising security.
Also in the pilot phase is a weapons screening system utilizing “software that would detect weapons coming onto campus” and front office panic alarms, Reid said.
FCPS didn’t share which or how many schools are included in the weapons screening and panic alarm systems pilots.
“It is too early to provide feedback on systems that are already being piloted or explored, such as vape detection…or weapons detection and panic alarm systems,” the spokesperson said.
Reid also mentioned briefly a drone pilot program for the school system’s incident response team.
“[The drones are] able to go to sites that may not be able to be secured right away so that we can get information back and forth to division security staff,” Reid said.
Information about costs or when this drone program could be used was not mentioned at the meeting or in FCPS’ response to FFXnow. Read More
The primary race for Virginia’s 37th Senate District pits an “old-fashioned” incumbent against a “progressive” who’s relatively new in Virginia politics.
Facing off for the Democratic nomination are longtime state Sen. Chap Petersen and Fairfax Young Democrats vice president Saddam Azlan Salim. Last week, a second challenger, Erika Yalowitz, dropped out to support Salim.
On the surface, the race is a classic match-up between a veteran lawmaker and a fresh face, but the candidates also have considerable political and policy differences, as evidenced in a recent debate that touched on Virginia as a “right to work” state, healthcare access and reproductive rights for women, and gun laws.
In an interview with FFXnow, Salim said he decided to run because he feels Petersen no longer reflects the political and population demographics in the 37th District, which includes Vienna, Tysons, Merrifield, and the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax.
“When I started talking to community leaders…about what they were looking for in a future senator, they wanted somebody who’s progressive,” Salim told FFXnow, “…when it comes to affordable housing, when it comes to the environment, when it comes to reproductive rights…and they’re not getting that from their current senator.”
Petersen told FFXnow he doesn’t “get caught up in ideology” and instead focuses on improving people’s lives in the community, calling himself “old-fashioned.”
He acknowledges the demographics in the district he currently represents and the new one created by redistricting have changed, becoming more diverse and “more oriented toward an immigrant population.” However, he says residents have the same basic concerns.
“A lot of the sort of older population that had worked at the Department of Defense, worked at the Pentagon has retired or moved. So, that core Republican constituency is diminished,” Petersen said. “I don’t think that necessarily changes the issues, per se. When I go door to door, people talk about property taxes. People talk about frustrations with the school system. [It] doesn’t change the state and local issues.”
One of those issues regionally is affordable housing, both candidates agreed. Salim said an insufficient supply has prevented essential county workers from living in the place they serve.
“Teachers can’t afford to live in this area. Richmond has the ability to work together with localities, to find workforce housing that works for workers that are in the county,” Salim said, charging Petersen with not being vocal enough about the need “to ensure that teachers stay in the area.”
Building new developments and housing around public transportation would help teachers and other workers more easily get where they need to go without relying on a car, Salim noted.
Petersen agrees about the need for more dense and vertical housing around public transportation hubs, but cautions that there isn’t “one great solution.” Read More
The primary for Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney may be the most cutthroat race on the ballot in a year when local voters will also choose representatives on the Board of Supervisors, school board and General Assembly.
On Friday (April 21), Democratic incumbent Steve Descano and challenger Ed Nuttall appeared together on WAMU’s “The Politics Hour,” the weekly radio show hosted by Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood, and the conversation got spicy.
At one point, Descano accused Nuttall of associating with “MAGA, antisemitic conspiracy theorists.” Nuttall responded by calling Descano “a liar” and “incompetent.”
There was also considerable back-and-forth about each other’s work backgrounds, current crime rates, office morale, management styles, and political affiliations.
In between arguments and personal attacks, though, the candidates managed to work in some policy debate, disagreeing on how the commonwealth’s attorney’s office (CA’s office) should handle cases involving police officers, where to allocate county funding, and how to best support victims of violent crimes.
Descano and Nuttle did find common ground on some issues. Both agreed they wouldn’t prosecute residents for getting an abortion or purchasing the pill mifepristone if those health care options were ever limited or outright banned.
The two also praised the Board of Supervisors for its continued funding of the top county prosecutor’s office over the last two budget cycles, though they diverged on how exactly the money should be used.
But the agreements were overshadowed by discord and name-calling from the two Democratic candidates.
One of the main areas of conversation was how the CA’s office works with victims of violent crimes. On his campaign website, Nuttall pledges to hire a “victim services liaison” if elected to ensure victims’ concerns are heard — a part of the job that he says Descano has “mismanaged.”
“There are zero communications between the victim services department and the police department and Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office,” Nuttall said. “They don’t get along. They don’t communicate. He doesn’t return their phone calls. He doesn’t return emails.”
When asked if he believes Descano is doing this purposefully, Nuttall said it’s more about not knowing how to do the job.
“I think he doesn’t know how to handle crime. I think he mismanages the office. I think he’s incompetent,” the challenger said.
Descano countered that he’s made the office more professional with more hires, while improving its electronic database. He’s focused on diversion programs, which he says have made community members safer and more trusting of the legal system. Descano also highlighted a bond data dashboard released last year as evidence of his office’s transparency.
“What we’ve done is…made [the office] run more efficiently, made it run better, made it run better for victims,” Descano said. “One thing that really bothers me about this race is that Ed Nuttall…is being the Republican that he is and has taken Republican talking points and, quite frankly disgustingly, is using victims in a way that is pretty gross.” Read More
After years of groundwork, the Huntington Club is pausing its plan to terminate itself and delaying major redevelopment plans that would have tied into the nearby Metro station.
On Friday (April 21), the Huntington Club condo association announced it will no longer move to disband this year and has paused construction of a large mixed-use development near the Huntington Metro station.
The condo association acknowledged to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in December that it was cash-strapped and needed the county to step in by issuing $45 million worth of bonds to push redevelopment forward.
The county was set to establish a community development authority (CDA) to borrow the needed money. Then, the CDA would pay back the $45 million in bonds through tax increment financing (TIF).
However, there were risks involved, particularly for the condo association and unit owners. The current financial environment convinced the Huntington Club to delay the project for the foreseeable future.
“We have all reached the conclusion that despite everyone’s best efforts, we’re not able to move forward with our redevelopment at this time,” Huntington Club Board of Directors president Lloyd Tucker said in a press release. “For us to terminate our condominium by December 15, as our termination agreement calls for, many pieces would need to be in place that simply cannot happen in today’s financial environment.”
Currently, the community comprises 364 garden and townhome condos on a 19-acre site next to the Metro station. It was set to be transformed into a denser development with 200 stacked townhomes and 1,300 multifamily units. It would also include senior living, office space, a hotel and ground-floor retail.
The redevelopment would have been a major complement to a development plan for the Metro station area, which is already in motion.
Explaining its decision, the club cited the pandemic’s impact on commercial real estate, rising interest rates, and recent bank failures that have combined “to essentially freeze the credit markets.”
“It’s an industry-wide issue at this time,” a spokesperson for the condo association told FFXnow.
In response, a scheduled public hearing on May 9 about the Huntington Central CDA has been canceled and “won’t be rescheduled until the project starts up again,” per the spokesperson.
However, the agreements, rezoning efforts, and plan amendments negotiated with the county for the redevelopment won’t expire, allowing efforts to ramp up again when the financial climate becomes less murky, the condo association said.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, vice chair of the board’s economic initiatives committee, told FFXnow he still expects the redevelopment to happen at some point.
“Redevelopment of the Huntington Metro station remains a high priority for me, the County and our community as it furthers our goals for transit-oriented development,” Storck said. “We have invested substantial time and due diligence to move this project forward, including planning for special Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund public infrastructure for Phase 1 of the project. We look forward to the resubmission of this project as economic conditions improve.” Read More
A 12.5% salary increase for police officers will be under discussion later this week for inclusion in Fairfax County’s upcoming budget.
Other items under consideration in the mark-up package include more money for ArtsFairfax, funding for girls’ softball facilities, and establishing a self-help resource center in the Fairfax Courthouse library.
In many years, shifting revenue, expense, and administrative cost estimates enable adjustments to the advertised budget presented in February, opening up funding for some initially unaddressed items.
County Executive Bryan Hill left about $90.2 million in unallocated funds in the fiscal year 2024 advertised budget, but with adjustments, that has now risen to $110.4 million.
As a result, supervisors are able to submit items to be considered at a pre-markup discussion by the Board of Supervisors’ budget policy committee on Friday (April 28) and a mark-up session with the full board on May 2.
Seven items were submitted for the mark-up package, totaling about $26.5 million.
The biggest ask, by far, is a 12.5% salary increase for police officers at rank of second lieutenant and below from Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. The raises would cost $26.2 million and come in addition to the 2% market rate adjustment increase already in the budget.
“Budgets should be about priorities and public safety is a priority. We are short about 200 officers; we have had to disband many of our specialty units to staff patrol, and changed shifts which have had a negative impact on our current officers,” Herrity told FFXnow. “It is past time to address a staffing shortage we have seen coming for many years. We can address the public staffing crisis without increasing the tax burden on our residents.”
He added that he’s “very optimistic” the board will approve at least some level of salary increase, if not the full 12.5%.
Last year, the county gave raises to certain public safety workers as part of the mark-up package, but it was a step increase and cost the county $6.1 million.
Herrity also is proposing to reduce supervisor office support budgets by $1.1 million, the same amount it was increased by in last year’s budget.
“This is a microcosm for the illogical spending in our County. Last year, no one answered my question about who proposed the $1.1 million increase for Board office budgets,” Herrity said. “We certainly do not need increased staff budgets, certainly not on top of the 38% salary increase. The money would be better spent focusing on improving access and customer service by county agencies as Board staff spend about 75% of their time helping residents with services.”
Also set to be considered is a proposal from Board Chairman Jeff McKay and Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw to provide $300,00 to reduce the “disparity between girls’ fastpitch softball and boys’ baseball facilities.”
In February, the two requested funding after a recent study revealed a widening gap in the quality and quantity of fields in the county available for softball compared to baseball. The supervisors asked for $1.7 million in one-time funding and a recurring cost of $300,000 for consideration in this year’s budget.
Other items that will be considered at the mark-up sessions in the coming weeks include:
- Expanding the Opportunity Neighborhoods initiative into Centreville at a cost of $413,000
- Establishing a self-help resource center within the law library at the Fairfax County Courthouse at a cost of $96,000
- An increase of $200,000 to ArtsFairfax for operating expenses
- Providing $350,000 to nonprofit projects that make home repairs and accessibility modifications so low and moderate-income households who are aging or disabled can stay in their homes
The 2024 fiscal year budget is set to be adopted on May 9.
Retired CIA staffer Lisa Downing is challenging Jeff McKay for Fairfax County’s top governmental seat.
Last week, Dunn Loring resident Downing announced her candidacy to chair the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Running as a Democrat, she will face off in the June primary against current Chairman Jeff McKay, who was elected in 2019 after representing Franconia District (then called Lee District) on the board for over a decade.
A three-decade county resident, Downing worked for the Central Intelligence Agency prior to retiring in 2019. She was also the first woman of color to attend and graduate from New York Maritime College, where she studied the business of shipping and how to operate tankers.
She told FFXnow her bid for the county’s top seat is to provide residents another option.
“When I found out that there was only one person — the incumbent — running on the Democratic ticket for the primary, I thought that the residents of Fairfax weren’t being given a choice,” Downing said. “And, in America, we all need choices, even within the same party.”
The top issue she’s campaigning on is increasing funding for Fairfax County Public Schools, specifically teacher pay. Downing noted that pay for FCPS teachers and staff has fallen behind other neighboring jurisdictions like Arlington and Loudoun.
“We’re losing teachers. We’re not competitive. We haven’t put in the resources that our students and teachers need to thrive. So, schools are the number one concern for me,” she said. “If we don’t provide our residents with good schools, they will find other places to give their children education.”
Increasing the county’s housing inventory to boost affordable housing “for working class people” is another priority for Downing. She said it’s disheartening that so many people who serve the county — from firefighters to teachers to small business owners — can’t afford to live here.
“When you have townhomes and condos reasonably priced and a lot of them, it takes the pressure off the housing market. People are then able to afford the moderate priced homes,” she said. “We have concentrated so much on sweetheart deals for developers that only the big houses get built. That’s where the money is for the developers, but that’s not where the money is for Fairfax County.”
Downing confirmed she’s referring to a change in approach similar to the “Missing Middle” policies passed in Arlington last month, allowing multifamily structures to be built on single-family home lots.
To pay for these priorities, Downing says the tax base needs to increase. That doesn’t necessary mean raising taxes so much as increasing the number of residents who are paying taxes.
“We have a lot of taxes. Fairfax gets money through its taxes. The more people who live in the county, the larger our tax base,” she said.
Downing sharply criticized McKay and other county supervisors for increasing the board’s salaries, starting in January 2024. The supervisors who voted for the raises argued they were in line with how other county employees are compensated and will allow others to serve regardless of personal financial circumstances. During the public hearing, though, many residents spoke out against the increase. Read More