Alan Frank, general manager of the Eden Center, Falls Church’s unique Asian-American-centered shopping center, told the News-Press Tuesday that the impact of the so-called Storm Water Utility Fund that the Falls Church City Council will vote on establishing Monday night would cost his predominantly minority small business tenants a cumulative $75,000 or more annually.
That is due, he said, to the extensive surface parking lot required to service all the businesses at the center. The sum is 10 times higher than for any other business or church location in the City, although all of them will be impacted in a major way. Despite calls from the board chairman of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and local church leaders to delay implementation of the policy pending further review, City Manager Wyatt Shields has recommended a vote to establish the entity on Monday, while using $900,000 of a budget surplus from the current fiscal year to delay exacting impervious-surface-based fees until June 2014. Shields told the Council this week that delaying the first fee charges were in response to church concerns, who operate on calendar year budgets, ignoring their call and those of Chamber members to revisit the policy before voting to establish the fund.
The fee cost to average residences in Falls Church will be $280 a year, over and above real estate and personal property tax rates. Last week, the News-Press editorialized against the establishment of the fund, calling it “not ready for prime time.”