Hello Everyone –
On County business, the budget has been adopted, and the sparks are flying after the Board created a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to address County priorities. In politics, Erik Gutshall’s campaign for County Board is on a win streak having secured three dramatic endorsements and with his “birthday” fundraiser today. See below…
FY17 Budget is Set
We ultimately adopted a consensus budget that adds 58 new staff, nearly half in public safety, and created an economic development incentive fund that will help us compete for new businesses. I made several amendments to the budget put forward by the Chair, securing support for an additional $540K for the schools and $1.1M for our Affordable Housing Investment Fund. This year the School Board did a remarkable job in tightening their budget and deserve our praise.
I was especially pleased that we allocated funds to transition the all-volunteer Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) into a new public-private partnership. LHA has been enormously effective in starting a planning process for this important corridor. They will continue to assist the County in the planning effort and will take on additional responsibilities to engage and support the residents, businesses and property owners.
Over the last 15 years, I have voted to increase the tax rate 5 times, lower the rate 6 times, and hold it steady 4 times. This year we were able to lower the tax rate by half a penny. Arlington continues to have the lowest rate and arguably the best services in Northern Virginia.
Strategic Priorities “Blue Ribbon” Panel Surprises Community
I must make a mea culpa. After raising many concerns about this Chairman’s initiative, I voted for this and it was a mistake. I have heard from many residents in recent days about their shock and concern that this panel was established without any of the standard notification to the community.
So what is it? That is part of the problem, as the purpose and scope of the charge remains confusing to many. Some see this as an effort by six appointed people to begin changing the County’s priorities, and others think these individuals are being asked to develop a plan to revisit the priorities.
County priorities in recent years have been schools, housing, public safety and economic competitiveness. If there is an interest in changing these priorities, this was not the way to do it. Stay tuned.
Arlington’s Top Credit Rating is Affirmed
For the 16th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s Aaa/AAA/AAA ratings -– the highest rating possible. Arlington is one of only 39 counties in the U.S. with the highest rating from all three credit agencies.
Why does it matter? When we need to finance infrastructure projects, we can borrow money at the lowest interest rates. Over the past six years, the County has saved taxpayers more than $23M through refunding bonds (like refinancing a home mortgage) at lower interest rates.
Moody’s noted that “Arlington’s financial position should remain solid given a history of conservative fiscal management and demonstrated adherence to adopted policies.”
Erik’s Campaign: Lots of Good News
- Erik won a straw poll by an 88%-12% margin!
- Erik outraised his opponent $52K to $34K in the first quarter of 2016!
- Erik was just endorsed by Sen. Adam Ebbin, and Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan!
- Join us at the fundraiser below or donate online at www.Erik4Arlington!
Thanks for all you do to for our community. Please contact me anytime with questions, concerns or compliments!
NewsThursday, December 31, 2015 12:00 AM
Sunday, November 22, 2015 12:00 AM
Thursday, October 15, 2015 12:00 AM
Jay's October e-Newsletter
Sunday, October 11, 2015 7:56 PM
Statement of Jay Fisette
Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:37 PM