Each year Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland's Town Meeting proves to be an event not to missed by his constituents. This 20th anniversary year is shaping up as no exception.
With Fort Belvoir's looming BRAC changes coupled by possible transportation initiatives in the Virginia General Assembly the stage seems to be set for another lively meeting. And, as always there will be Hyland's "Virtual Bus Tour" of happenings along the Route 1 corridor and throughout the district.
"This year we hope to have both of our Congressmen Tom Davis (R-11) and Jim Moran (D-8) come to speak about BRAC and how they hope to bring federal aid to our assistance. This will be the first time they have both come to speak," Hyland said. Their presentation is expected immediately after Hyland's welcome and opening comments.
Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3, in the Little Theater of Mount Vernon High School, 8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, beginning at 9 a.m., the event always draws a full house and a lively exchange between the audience and participating County officials. It is preceded by exhibits in the school cafeteria commencing at 7:45 a.m. that cover everything from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project to environmental and public safety issues and programs.
In years past Hyland has used his Town Meeting bully pulpit to drop informational bombshells that have motivated civic activists to influence events effecting Mount Vernon District. One year it was the rumored closing of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. Another brought news that BRAC would be bringing an additional 22,500 people to the already bulging Mount Vernon/Lee districts.
"This year there are several item of controversy about which we may be able to make some announcements on at the meeting. But, there's nothing definite at this time," he said. Then again, there's always the possibility of a sleeper issue or announcement.
Kicking off the planned agenda portion of the four-hour event will be Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald Connolly giving an overview of "County Priorities." As usual, he will be followed by Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin sighting "Challenges and Opportunities for Fairfax County in 2007" that are then put into fiscal perspective by Chief Financial Officer Ed Long as he reviews the County's "Fiscal Year 2008 Budget and Taxes."
This Mount Vernon District Town Meeting will mark the last input from Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman since he has announced he will not seek reelection this fall. Kauffman will use the opportunity to present one of his favorite topics, "Transportation Plans for the Coming Year."
WITH BRAC on the front burner, both in terms of meeting a mandated implementation deadline of September 2011 and in its socioeconomic impact on both Mount Vernon and Lee Districts, it is of prime importance to a wide variety of constituents — from environmentalists to transportation planners. Putting it all into perspective will be the task of Fort Belvoir Installation Commander Col. Brian Lauritzen.
The area of public education will be tag-teamed by Jack Dale, superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools and Dan Storck, Mount Vernon School Board Member, and recently named Chairman of the Fairfax County School Board.
Public Safety will also be addressed by a duo — David Rohrer, chief, Fairfax County Police Department and Daryl Louder, assistant chief, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, will cover these two vital areas.
Complementing these presentations, as well as that by Davis and Moran, will be two question and answer sessions giving the audience an opportunity to voice their concerns on what has been presented as well as a variety of other subjects. The first of these Q and A sessions will take place immediately following Hyland's popular "Virtual Bus Tour" with the second closing out this 20th Town Meeting at approximately 1 p.m.