<sh>Kiosks Coming to Arlington

<bt>Next year the county will begin planning and designing outdoor kiosks to house street vendors in three county locations.

The kiosks will be situated in Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston, because of the high pedestrian traffic in each neighborhood. Each kiosk will have a different theme, tailored to the surrounding existing businesses.

"We hope this will enliven urban street life and make things better for those walking," said County Board Vice Chair Chris Zimmerman. "This is extremely exciting and I’m glad to see it actually moving forward."

In Rosslyn the kiosk will be located at the northwest corner of North Fort Myer Drive and N. Moore Street. County government officials are recommending the kiosk contain a bicycle rental facility, with parking for cycling commuters.

The Clarendon kiosk will sit on the northeast corner of North Fairfax Drive and Highland Street, as part of the county-owned right of way.

In Ballston kiosks will be placed outside the Metro stop on the corners of North Fairfax Drive and Stuart Street and North Fairfax Drive and Stafford Street. The kiosk will hold Metro-related commuter stores.

— Seth Rosen

<sh> Warner Presents Transportation Funding

<bt>Governor Mark R. Warner last week announced his budget will include $625 million in General Fund support for transportation projects, including money for the widening of I-66, Columbia Pike bus improvements and a Crystal City-Potomac Yard busway.

"Over the last four years, we have built a strong foundation based on responsible business practices and improved performance in project deadlines and budgets," Warner said in a press release. "This plan continues our commitment to restore financial health and accountability to Virginia’s transportation program, while adding key investments that will increase mobility and statewide economic development."

Warner is proposing $7 million to widen I-66 westbound from the Rosslyn Tunnel to the Dulles Connector Road. He is also asking for more than $3.6 million for Columbia Pike bus improvements, $3.1 million for a Crystal City-Potomac Yard Busway and $2 million for Pentagon City transportation improvements.

<sh>School Share Drops

<bt>Arlington school system's share of local tax revenue will decrease for fiscal year 2007 because of declining student enrollment.

Arlington Public Schools are set to receive 47.7 percent of locally generated tax revenue in fiscal 2007, down from 48.1 percent the previous year. Total enrollment this September decreased by 333 students, down to 18,411 pupils.

Each year the county transfers funds to the schools, calculated as a percentage share of local tax revenues at current rates and other programs the county board establishes for tax relief. Funds necessary to meet the requirement of maintaining a reserve two percent of General Fund expenditures are taken out of the local tax revenue prior to sharing with the schools.

— Seth Rosen

<sh>Board Honors Retirees

<bt>The Arlington County Board honored three individuals who are retiring at the end of the year and have made significant contributions to the county.

After twelve years on the Planning Commission, and two stints as chairman, Ted Saks is stepping down. County Board Chairman Jay Fisette praised Saks for his meticulous work on the commission and for improving the development review process and site-plan schedule.

Serving on the commission was an "honor and privilege," Saks said.

"There are few things better than to make a real difference in your own community, and the planning commission is one of the easiest ways to make that difference," he added.

Saks encouraged the board members to seek greater community benefits from developers when granting increased density.

"Because today’s developers face less risk, they must be held more accountable to meet today’s needs."

In 1972 Jim Snyder joined the county as a young and ambitious site plan coordinator. In the years since, he has been at the forefront of most major planning phases in Arlington.

County Board members Paul Ferguson and Walter Tejada praised Snyder profusely for his seemingly boundless knowledge of the planning process and his ability to explain complicated items in simplistic, thoughtful language.

More than a dozen members of the county’s planning staff gave Snyder a standing ovation during the board meeting.

"There has never been a dull moment," Snyder said, after thanking his staff. "It’s been nothing but interesting, challenging and a lot of fun.

Since 1973 Tom Panther has been a valuable member of the Arlington County Police Department. In his three decades on the force Panther served in myriad capacities and always performed a "vital role," Fisette said.

Most recently Panther brought his skills and technical expertise to the Office of Emergency Management. He also graduated first in his class at the Virginia Forensics Academy.

"Thanks for your service in all of your capacities," Fisette said. "Those will be some big shoes to fill."

— Seth Rosen

<sh>Kaine Appoints Another Arlington Resident

<bt>Gov.-elect Tim Kaine appointed Arlington resident Aneesh Chopra as his secretary of technology last week.

Chopra is currently a managing director of the Advisory Board Company, which provides best practices research and analysis to the health care industry. Much of his work has focused on using technology to drive down health care costs. Chopra was one of Virginia’s two appointees to the Southern Technology Council, where he was appointed as co-chair.

"Aneesh’s experience in the private sector and with state committees seeking to control health care costs through technology will be an important addition to my cabinet," Kaine said in a press release.

He also serves as co-president of the D.C. chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs, an organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship in the region.

<sh>County Forms BRAC Task Force

<bt>The Arlington County Board on Dec. 14 approved the formation of a Base Realignment and Closure Transition Task Force to address the impacts on Arlington arising from the 2005 BRAC recommendations. Arlington is expected to lose nearly 17,000 defense industry and contractor jobs, when agencies vacate nearly 4 million square feet of leased office space in the county.

The task force will be comprised of members of the Arlington Economic Development Commission, and other outside experts. The Task Force was formed to address the affects on Arlington's economy, tax base, real estate market, hospitality industry and small businesses.

The task force will advise the county board and county manager and present policy recommendations. The first meeting will be held this week.

<sd>Arlington Red Cross Receives Grant

<bt>The Arlington County Chapter of the American Red Cross has received a $5,923 grant to fund local disaster relief services. The grant is part of the ExxonMobil Employees’ Favorite Charities Campaign, and the money will be sued to fund emergency communications for military families, international tracing services and a grocery shopping transportation program for senior citizens, among other programs.

These programs are designed to assist families with immediate emergency needs following a disaster such as a house fire. Victims of such disasters are provided with temporary housing, replacement of urgent medical supplies, food and clothing, depending on their unique emergency needs.