The seven-member City Council enacts ordinances and resolutions, approves budgets, sets tax rates, and establishes policy.
A 20-year resident of Falls Church, Marybeth is completing her first term on City Council, serving as Vice-Mayor. She works for Falls Church City Public Schools, building community partnerships. The Connelly family loves living in Falls Church.
Falls Church needs to maximize location between Arlington & Tysons Corner, close to DC, major highways & Metro. Thriving medical and wellness practices, tech and cybersecurity, hotels & entrepreneurs should be encouraged to bring growing businesses here. We need to entice visitors from the region to stop and spend money in Falls Church. Should the GMHS campus site become available for development we need to bring in the highest and best use of 10 acres to spur development in the West End
Falls Church is expensive, in part, because it is a desirable community. The challenge is to maintain desirability while making it more affordable. We need to work diligently to hold or reduce tax rate. We need to expand affordable housing requirements for all new developments to provide more affordable housing options. We need to review & refine tax deferral and abatement for long-time residents. We need to partner with non-profit or faith community to build an affordable housing development.
I will vote YES.
After years of review and study, we are ready. A community that prides itself on public education needs a high school that reflects our values. A YES vote maintains property values. The plan to mitigate expense of new school with commercial development is solid, and getting better all the time. Because current building is end-of-life, a NO vote won't save money or reduce taxes. Expensive repairs and renovation will be required & no economic development can occur on the land.
Business Leader, Real Estate Adviser, Property Tax Expert, Commercial and Economic Development Experience, MBA-American University,
BA-Political Science and History-Birmingham-Southern College, Married with 3 daughters (8,5,3)
Higher density commercial developments, primarily located near the outer edges of the city. Use types would vary; including office, retail, hospitality and community space. Any inclusion of multi-family would be designed and planned for unit size and mix to effectively minimize the impact on school enrollment estimates. I support special commercial taxing districts in major planning areas like the GMHS campus development site to help further reduce the property tax burden on home owners.
Reduce the overall property tax burden for homeowners through higher commercial tax revenue sources. Focus on urban planning to provide a more diverse housing stock that includes unit types and pricing for people regardless of their stage in life. Expand tax credit programs for those in need. Maintain a top tier school system to ensure the value of residents’ homes continue to grow, generating equity and financial gain in the process.
I’m voting in favor. The current GMHS is functionally obsolete and beyond its useful life. We need a facility constructed for 21st century teaching and learning. Renovation would not address enrollment growth nor would it be prudent financially. Approving the referendum opens up the surrounding land for commercial development to generate much needed tax revenue. Along with our City Council and School Board I can help lead a successful delivery of a new building under budget and on time.
3 kids, GMHS Class of '15, '18 & '22. Resident for ~30 years, as investor & entrepreneur I keenly appreciate synergy between excellent schools and property value. Graduate of Occidental College & George Mason School of Law, served on Council '06-10
Our tax base is $4 Billion, with too high a % being SF homes. In order to bend the tax curve, the next Billion needs to be different. The 10 acres we own at the WFC Metro is worth ~$50M, but development should add ~250M+ to the pie, and help to balance the burdens including jobs and other economic activity. There are other properties with like potential; we need to be smart & aggressive with all of our tools to bring commercial and other development that provides real sustainable net revenue
We offer compelling value to young families with high incomes, but we need to attract & retain other demographics. We should include significant affordable and workforce housing in new development, and expansion of tax deferral for seniors as allowed by Law. This will promote economic & social health in our community by offering a diversity of housing. By having the discipline to be smart & aggressive in redevelopment, and creative in approaching other issues, we can and will do this.
I support a “YES” vote, because I believe a new school is a smart investment in our future even though I harbor doubts about the City's information campaign. I pledge that I will not vote to sell the bonds absent a detailed and accountable plan to generate the long-term revenues needed to support that multi-generational project to assure that we do not harm the goose that lays the golden eggs, whether you believe that is our world-class schools or our livable, walkable neighborhoods.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
City Council—1994-present, Mayor—1998-2000, Vice Mayor—1996-1998, 2010-2015; chair of regional transportation, air quality, and emergency preparedness bodies; 30+ year City resident; first responder-EMT; father of Richard and Sarah, FCCPS graduates
Most mixed-use developments have yielded net positive returns in tax revenue. Still, we need to require more commercial in these buildings and less residential with its related public services costs. We would benefit from a wider variety of housing types, including condos that younger and older buyers desire. We must ensure that developments work well with adjoining neighborhoods. And we must maintain the uniqueness and diversity of businesses that attract visitors to spend time and money here.
Affordability is a worthy goal. So, too, are quality education, safe streets, attractive parks, first-rate public services, and effective regional cooperation—from transportation to emergency preparedness. Elected officials and City staff continuously review long- and short-term expenditures to try to balance and accomplish all these goals. The City’s tax deferral program for older citizens and continued emphasis on economic development also aim to help keep Falls Church affordable.
Recognizing the size of the school project, I consistently advocated that our citizens have the final say. I will abide by their decision. At the same time, I serve on the economic development group that is seeking how to maximize revenue from commercial development on the remaining 10 acres at the school site while providing the kind of activity we want. I will personally vote for the referendum to return to others the great gift of excellent public education given to us and our children.
Daniel (Dan) Sze lectures on sustainability strategies, works on clean energy initiatives, is involved with several international start-ups, and is a consultant to businesses, organizations and government. https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-x-dan-sze
Our city is land constrained. Maintaining our standard of living supported by quality public services and schools requires an increasing stream of revenue. Annual staff costs each year are 3-5%. A revenue base dependent solely on residential property tax and commercial sales will not keep up with the demand. I support growing a well-designed city that yields substantial net revenue value. I am an Architect and my Master’s was in Urban Design. I support environmentally sustainable development.
Affordability is key in my campaign. Maintaining excellence in our city and schools along with fair taxes is dependent on attracting the right kind of growth. I support the high quality commercial/retail we are seeing more of. Development of the west end campus needs to encourage regionally significant facilities, perhaps a research hospital aligned with adjoining universities and counties. I will work hard so that you get value out of every penny you pay on the tax rate and you can stay here.
Should our citizens vote to approve the $120M high school bond referendum, I pledge to reach out and collaborate with all involved parties to get this project done. I will utilize all the skills, knowledge and experience I have accumulated over a long career in building and infrastructure to make this project a reality for our City. I completely agree that GMHS is in decline. This is an extraordinary, existential, multi-generational challenge and opportunity that will affect all citizens.