November was busy with three days of meetings. Here’s my roundup of items of interest.
The total transformation of Ballston Common Mall into Ballston Quarter was unanimously approved. There are more approvals to come, but I’m pleased this promising and crucial project for the economic health of the Ballston area is well under way. If you’d like to learn more about the project, check out Ballston Quarter’s site.
How to spend the $22.1M left over at the end of the last fiscal year (called “carryover”) saw much debate. The issue was whether to allocate most of the money now, outside the budget process, or later in the context of our next budget. I supported John Vihstadt’s motion to reserve most of the money to be allocated in the next budget process, which I think is a more disciplined and focused way to allocate the funds. We lost the vote 3-2. Be sure to read the Washington Post story about it.
The Governor’s proposal to toll I-66 is very complex. Both John Vihstadt and I thought the proposal was not sufficiently developed to warrant approval at this time. The resolution of approval itself made clear there are many unknowns about everything from the effects of tolling on our roads in Arlington to how the money from the tolls will be spent. The intention of the proposal is fine, but we think (as do many Arlington citizens and Virginians throughout the region) that the details need more time to be developed. We again lost that vote 3-2. You can watch the discussion here.
Outside of the meetings, the Board announced our willingness to host Syrian refugees. You can read the press release for more details. Arlington has always welcomed refugees. Some people have security concerns about our stance, but, as my readers likely know, the security clearance process to obtain refugee status is the most rigorous of the various visas. I find our tourist visa process far more concerning from a security standpoint.
As always, I welcome comments and questions from my readers. This week, 33 Garvey family members from 3 generations gathered in Ohio. I am grateful every day for my family, my community and to have the privilege to serve you. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving.