Problem-solving on 2014 Agenda

Problem-solving on 2014 Agenda


John Cook

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with my Board colleagues and Braddock residents on a number of important issues. Here are some of the key issues that will affect Fairfax County residents in 2014.

*Federal and state law requires the Board to pass a new Stormwater Ordinance this spring as part of Chesapeake Bay pollution control. Our stormwater program will also start to address flooding caused by prior development that did not adequately plan for run-off. I have been working to minimize the burden these requirements would place on homeowners seeking to make renovations, while still meeting important environmental goals.

*The Board will consider a zoning amendment to permit Residential Studio Unit (RSU) apartments. An RSU is a small zero-bedroom apartment, of no more than 500 square feet (the size of a good-sized living room), with a bathroom and kitchenette included. The Board has already voted to keep RSU’s out of low-density residential areas. I hope we can work out remaining issues so we can allow the private sector to create new, market rate affordable housing at no cost to the taxpayers.

*I am co-chairing a joint Board of Supervisor-School Board Infrastructure Financing Committee charged with figuring out how to pay for school renovations, major maintenance needs of County buildings and parks, and new construction of schools, parks, and facilities to meet the demands of population growth. I am also part of a working group tasked with designing a new compensation plan for our County workforce that will keep employee pay comparable to our competitors and still be affordable to the taxpayers.

*The County budget is in decent shape. Last year we dealt with our structural challenge by stopping the practice of balancing the budget with one-time money. Now, we should be able to balance this year’s budget without raising the tax rate, holding agency spending basically flat, giving schools the 2 percent increase we promised them, and giving our workforce a cost-of-living raise.

*In Braddock District, one of the first uses of the new state transportation funding could be widening Braddock Road from Guinea Road to the Beltway, including HOV-Bus lanes. I will put together a citizen task force to ensure the interests of our neighborhoods are protected as we explore how to design this project. I am also looking forward to the completion of George Mason’s "Campus Drive" project and the beginning of the County’s improvements to the Braddock – Route 123 intersection.

*I am also looking forward to the launch of our newly-funded initiative against neighborhood speeding. I will be asking our neighborhoods to join in making the commitment to encourage residents to slow down and drive safely.

How are we going to accomplish all these things? By working together in a positive manner, involving our citizens, looking for solutions instead of problems, and adhering to principles of sound fiscal management. It’s a new year. Let’s get to work!