F.C. Water Suit Coming from Fairfax Residents
On Monday, in a “first reading” discussion that lasted less than five minutes, City Council continued its tradition of treating the city’s Fairfax County customers as its personal ATM machine by seizing $1 million of ratepayer contributed revenues (The final decision is to be made on June 25th). $920,000 of those revenues was provided by Fairfax County customers and only $80,000 by city customers who, in essence, paid themselves the $8,000. City Council tacitly admits that the $1 million, now burning a hole in the Water Fund’s pockets, is “excess revenues,” which means that last year’s hard fought 8% rate increase is now seen to have been unneeded.
Rather than saving the money to be used to offset further rate increases, City Council wants to spend it on expenses associated with the city’s ill-fated attempt to sell its water system to a for-profit utility. City Council took the risk of trying to sell the city’s water system so that city residents – and only city residents – could reap a financial bonanza. City Council took a risk when they embarked on this venture, and they lost. City Council needs to pay these expenses out of the City’s General Fund, because that is where the profits would have gone. Water customers – both city and county – should not be obliged to pay these kinds of legal and consulting fees. It is likely that this action violates generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for a municipality.
This use of ratepayer money is also in direct violation of the District Court’s 2010 order that the city’s water utility’s water revenues equal expenses, because not a single penny of the $1 million is being used to provide water service to city and county customers. This is just a transparent and illegal workaround of the Court’s order that Falls Church stop transferring money from the City’s Water Fund to the City’s General Fund. And, when City Council is eventually sued over this theft, Falls Church’s citizens will incur many more hundreds of thousands of dollars defending itself in court.
Kirk F. Randall
Public Library Valuable Summer Youth Resource
I want to applaud Michele Harcarik’s guest commentary last week on preventing summer slide. Her suggestions are excellent and relatively easy to fit into busy family schedules.
I would like to point out a valuable resource in our community for helping families maintain their children’s skills over the summer break – the public library. All the area public libraries provide a summer reading program designed to encourage kids to keep learning while they are out of school. Most of these libraries will provide incentives and special programs to encourage kids and families to come into the library to join up. All will include some kind of reading requirement based on either number of minutes or number of books read over the summer, and will reward kids who complete the minimum requirement. Research has shown that participation in the public library’s summer reading program is more valuable than one-on-one tutoring for maintaining and even improving reading skills. The success of this program is largely due to the fact that kids can choose the books they wish to read rather than reading a book that is assigned. I cannot stress enough the importance of free reading for pleasure. Free reading has been shown to be the primary source of increased vocabulary and increased comprehension. Whether your kids choose comics, catalogs, graphic novels, magazines or books, the benefit is the same. Studies show that children who don’t read for pleasure have difficulty developing the language and literacy skills that will be required of them if they are to succeed in today’s world.
The best way to encourage reading for pleasure is to provide your kids with more access to books, and where better to do this than the public library. It’s free, it’s fun and it works. Your public library is one stop shopping for preventing the summer slide.
Youth Services Supervisor, Mary Riley Styles Public Library
Evaluating & Imbalance in Wisconsin Recall
Nicholas Benton’s editorials are always entertaining as a barometer for the current target of leftist anger and reliance on factually challenged assertions. This week’s editorial, “Overcoming the $ Imbalance” was no exception.
Benton cites that the recall campaign was outspent by walker by a margin of 7:1. This is true, but only when looking at individual contributions. While reading analysis in The Nation, I was led to link at the New York Times showing that organizations’ contributions narrowed the gap to 2.5:1. The Nation and NYT aren’t exactly partisan right wing sites, which may be why they left out one component to their analysis – union contributions. Add in the roughly $20 million in union funding and the gap narrows to $3 million dollars, but that makes for a less interesting sound bite.
What is also not factored in are items like the salaries of union employees who were paid to work full time for the recall, or what would be the monetary value of Ed Shultz running a prime time pep rally for the Senate recall (Where the Democrats outspent the GOP $23M – $20M) on MSNBC?
Of course, if Mr. Benton truly believes that campaign money is duping the people to vote against their best interests, then I look forward to his analysis of the 2008 presidential election.
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