After much discussion, the Board approved Comments on I-495 NEXT Draft National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Assessment and Draft Design Plans (Dranesville and Providence Districts) with an amendment by Supervisor John W. Foust, Dranesville District. His amendment was to delete the sentence: “The project provides significantly greater benefit if Maryland completes their system of managed lanes, particularly increasing the capacity of the American Legion Bridge,” and insert the sentence: “As VDOT’s own studies indicate the project provides significant benefits only if Maryland completes their system of managed lanes, particularly completing the capacity of the American Legion Bridge. In the interim the project will cause inequitable and therefore unacceptable delays to non-express lane traffic.” Chairman McKay said, ”My only objection with (Foust’s) language…(is it) would clearly be not moving forward with the project, unless Maryland has successfully executed a comprehensive agreement for their own express lanes. I’m leery of giving control over to another state.” Vice Chair Gross said , “I am very concerned that if this amendment would pass that the folks in Richmond would stop reading the letter after the first paragraph. They would interpret this language to say, oh they don’t want the project.”
Dec. 1 marked the final Fairfax County Full Board of Supervisors Meeting with Public Comment of 2020. In a year historians will mark in history with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board held its meeting electronically due to the State of Emergency and the recent trend upwards in coronavirus cases. Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay, At-Large presided with all nine Supervisors present representing residents in their districts: Walter L. Alcorn, Hunter Mill; John W. Foust, Dranesville; Penelope A. Gross, Mason; Patrick S. Herrity, Springfield; Rodney L. Lusk, Lee; Dalia A. Palchik, Providence; Kathy L. Smith, Sully; Daniel G. Storck, Mount Vernon; and James R. Walkinshaw, Braddock. Each Board member receives annual compensation of $95,000 per year, except the chairman, who receives $100,000 per year.
Within the county, 25.2 percent of households make $200,000 or more, yet 6.2 percent of the population live in poverty, according to data released by Fairfax County Government Jan. 2020. Previously recorded Board of Supervisors Meetings with captions and indexed per agenda items for rapid bookmark finding, can be viewed anytime at Board of Supervisors Meetings Video Archive.
Fairfax County is divided into nine magisterial districts with nine of the ten members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors elected by voters living in these individual districts and the Chairman elected by voters county-wide. Districts are of approximately equal population.
Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay opens the Dec. 1 Board of Supervisors Meeting saying, “All of us are concerned about uptick in (COVID-19) cases and we are monitoring that closely...If we could keep all of those affected by this pandemic in our thoughts and prayers.”
Supervisor Dalia A. Palchik, Providence District brings forward that the deadline for the $20M of Cares Coronavirus Relief Funds is Dec. 30, 2020. “We know that our community needs do not expire with that deadline. Ideally the federal government will come through with another stimulus package to help support our community’s vulnerable residents.” According to Palchik, the County set funds aside in the General Fund that could be used to provide basic needs assistance and continue other pandemic programs. Palchik, in collaboration with Chairman McKay, motioned to direct staff to “continue disseminating county funds for basic assistance after Dec. 30...Pursue other funding opportunities…(and) provide updates. The motion carried.
Jointly with Supervisor James R. Walkinshaw, Braddock District, Supervisor Patrick S. Herrity, Springfield District introduces a motion to implement short-term initiatives that supplement the ongoing efforts of Fairfax County’s pandemic response for older adults. Working with multiple focus groups, nonprofits, medical and mental health partners, the plan fills in some gaps for the community’s most vulnerable older adults in the ongoing pandemic such as wellness, lack of technology access, and social isolation, according to Herrity. “It’s a pretty incredible effort they’ve been able to accomplish,” Herrity said, referencing the final plan. Motion approved.
Adoption of the 2021 Legislative Program for the Virginia General Assembly and the County’s 117th Congress Federal Legislative Strategy and Principles: “The program contains the Committee’s recommended legislative positions for the County at the 2021 Session of the Virginia General Assembly (and) an issue paper on human services needs is included as an addendum to this program,” according to background material by county staff, Bryan J. Hill, County Executive. It addressed schools, transportation, human services’ affordable housing options, diversion programs to connect people who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low level offenses, to treatment. Supervisor James R. Walkinshaw, Braddock District, said, “The state must find ways to increase investments in K through 12 and other essential local programs and services after years of state underfunding.” Chairman McKay said, “When weighing packages like this we have to weigh the totality of what’s before us.” Supervisor Patrick S. Herrity, Springfield District said while there was “a lot of good stuff in this package” unfortunately there were “a lot of things” that he couldn’t support. “I will not be supporting this package,” Herrity said. Approved 9-1.
The board approved a resolution to accept funding from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) in the amount of $1,500,000 for training vouchers to be used for any eligible training provider in one of the following training areas: Information Technology, Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, Healthcare, Early Childhood Education, or Public Safety. Currently, unless funding is extended past Dec. 30, 2020, all training programs must be completed by Dec. 30, 2020 in accordance with the federal CARES Act legislation.
“I believe these are the first vaccine programs we’re seeing go through,” said Supervisor Walter L. Alcorn, Hunter Mill District. He asked, “My question for staff is, when are we going to see a vaccination plan for the Fairfax County Health District?”
County Executive Bryan J. Hill said that in speaking with Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH the Director of Health for Fairfax County they were waiting on provisions coming forward from the Virginia Department of Health. “We don’t know how many doses we will have, but again, once we know the particulars, we will have a plan in place per the VDH guidelines,” said Hill. The Board approved authorization of resolutions for the Health Department to accept grant fundings from the Virginia Department of Health for the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign and immunization planning in the respective amounts of $500,000 and $230,000.
In one of its final motions, the Board approved to give the Police Civilian Review Panel the authority to receive public comment about any law enforcement related policy, practice, or procedure.