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Morning Notes

Lewinsville Park basketball courts in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Police Shooting Not Justified, Family Says — The parents of Jasper Aaron Lynch, who was fatally shot four times by a Fairfax County police officer during a mental health crisis call on July 7, said in a statement that the police “could have, and should have, handled this far differently.” Their comments came after the county police department released footage of the encounter. [WTOP]

Bailey’s Crossroads Car Dealership to Expand — “The Radley Acura dealership on Columbia Pike near Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads will undergo a major expansion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application Aug. 2 by Radley Management LLC to build a three-level parking garage with 307 spaces and an enclosed customer service drop-off addition.” [Annandale Today]

New Metro Safety Issues Raised — “Metro needs to inspect, clean, and protect Metrorail station rooms that house equipment that detects when trains are on tracks and helps the system avoid crashes, the agency’s safety oversight body said in a report released Thursday. The report further said that Metro had failed to follow through on inspections after the issue was raised in March.” [DCist]

County Pension Fund Doubles Down on Crypto — “Fairfax County, Va.’s $6.8 billion pension fund, the Fairfax County Retirement Systems, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds…The $1.8 billion Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has made a series of crypto investments in the past alongside the Fairfax County Retirement Systems” [CoinDesk]

Funds for Water to Historic Hall Approved — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a Mastenbrook Grant request from the Great Falls Grange Foundation (GFGF) in the amount of $20,000 to help install a municipal-connected water line to service the Great Falls Grange…The overall vision for this site is to serve the community as a self-supporting gathering place, a location for classes and a place to hold special events.” [FCPA]

Decision on Maryland’s Beltway Toll Lanes Coming — “With the U.S. Department of Transportation poised to issue its decision on an ambitious Capital Beltway and I-270 toll lanes plan, Montgomery County’s top planner accused state highway officials of running roughshod over Maryland law,” echoing similar complaints leveled by McLean residents over Virginia’s 495 NEXT project. [Maryland Matters]

Poll: What Does “Alexandria” Mean to You? — “One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed…the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria. This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as ‘Alexandria’ branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County police car (file photo)

The Fairfax County Police Department’s $2 billion pension fund plans to add cryptocurrency investment managers this month, furthering its years-long strategy in alternative finance.

The Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has invested in the emerging financial space since 2019, starting with blockchain technology, and it’s now slated to add two more fund managers who could get a share of the profits.

Katherine Molnar, the chief investment officer for the fund, discussed the expected move on a panel about alternative financial investments at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 3.

“Along with our sister plan, the Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System, we believe that we’re the first two public pensions in the U.S. to have allocated to this space,” Molnar said.

The new investments involve yield farming, a cryptocurrency strategy that’s been likened to interest on savings for traditional bank customers. The return on the investments could be between 4% and 1,000%, Molnar said.

According to the county, the pension fund already has a revenue-sharing agreement with the firm Parataxis Capital, and the police retirement system’s Board of Trustees is considering two more such agreements with the yield-farming additions.

Fairfax County police officers contribute 8.65% of their regular pay to the department’s pension fund, which increased 23.3%, or nearly $409 million, during the previous fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021.

According to Molnar, third-party managers direct the crypto investment funds to blockchain technology and infrastructure for cryptocurrency markets, such as digital wallets. The county said its investments also support cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

“I’ve allocated about…5% to this space,” Molnar said, adding that target investments have seen considerable growth but also complicated rebalancing efforts.

According to an annual report for the pension fund, commission percentages range from 0.05% to o.24%, costing $136,249 in base commissions for fiscal year 2021. Management, custodial and consulting fees, and other expenses costed $19.7 million during that time.

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