Letters to the Editor: Stormwater Questions Met With ‘Attitude’ from City

April 24, 2014 10:18 AM4 comments

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Letters to the Editor: April 24 – 30, 2014

Stormwater Questions Met With ‘Attitude’ from City

Editor,

Dealing with some of the Falls Church employees regarding the stormwater fee makes one question if these people know where the money comes for their salaries and just how they were hired. The arrogance and rudeness is uncalled for.

Several of us in the neighborhood questioned our stormwater fee, disagreeing with its calculations. Some were obvious reasons: sidewalks and driveways not present where indicated and pervious material used for driveways instead of impervious. When questioning why large trees that absorb so much water were not included as a credit, the answer I received was “we could not figure out how to do that. So we did not.“ Also when asked if large lots should receive some kind of credit, the answer was “we decided not to do that.” You pay for your impervious area. You cannot get a tax credit for having a large yard that acts as an area of stormwater run-off.

Part of the problem is all the building on small lots. If there were more land required around large homes, there would be more area for the storm water to be absorbed into the soil. Shouldn’t the City be trying to manage this problem at the planning and zoning level?

It only seems logical that those who have very large properties be considered for a credit for this fee. A simple formula could calculate the ratio of the impervious area in comparison to the pervious. Large properties actually help the problem of stormwater run-off. If a property contains large trees it could be calculated at a higher credit percentage. I was told “this was not considered and is not a consideration.”

When I received the letter with my new “slightly adjusted” amount after disputing it, the letter showed this “attitude.” It states that I had removed part of my driveway! A neighbor’s letter said she had “removed a sidewalk.” Really? The attitudes could be a lot better. What would have been wrong with “readjusted” or “miscalculated”?

I’ve lived in the City more than 60 years. I have not seen such attitudes before. In the past, the City has done its part in putting its citizens first.

I think City employees should listen to its citizens’ suggestions and work with us instead of insulting us.

Judy Jensen

Falls Church

 


Letters to the Editor may be submitted to letters@fcnp.com or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.

  • Sajeela Ramsey

    Judy, you are certainly not alone in your sentiments with regard to ‘attitudes’ by some administrators at City Hall. When the last cycle of water use bills were released a number of residents raised eyebrows at their bills. The poor, and in some cases patronizing responses from City Hall resulted in a petition being generated to demand an independent audit of the water billing process. Comments from 160 some individuals who signed the petition were scathing. It is clear there is a trust problem with the executives who manage our city by enough residents to warrant not just a change of attitude, but an ability to govern with impeccable accountability. The independent audit is still in its’ inception. Jury is not out as to whether or not the study will be sufficiently fair and thorough. Furthermore, there were some 6500 billing anomalies identified by the city in the last cycle, and no explanation of why has been rendered, let alone publicized.

    The storm water fees have also come under scrutiny by quite a few residents. There has been conflicting information about the standards used to assess our fees, in addition to unreliable and dated data usage. Furthermore, an extension for the due date was never publicized so what was the ameliorating point? The issue of what constitutes permeable surfaces vs impermeable ones generated a funny video that was posted on Commonplace: https://vimeo.com/92198279. it demonstrates how absurd the standard for measuring permeable surfaces apparently is.

    Your seniority as a resident of 60 years counts for a lot in terms of comparing what FC Government has been and what it is today. I think there is a lot of trust-building needed to change a growing perception that our taxes and fees are being unfairly assessed.

    • Alison Kutchma

      Ah yes, trust building. About that…

  • JFallsChurch

    Received new water bill from Fairfax County – $50 increase from “normal”. Looks like the period is two weeks longer but don’t have in front of me.

    • FC Government Watch

      Did you sign the petition for an independent audit of the city’s former water billing system?

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