Memo for fiscal year 2021, updated 2020-04-17

[Archived] Question # 61: Please provide budget comments submitted online regarding the FY 2021 Proposed Budget.


Please provide budget comments submitted online regarding the FY 2021 Proposed Budget. (Morgan Routt)


Comment # 18

I am writing to you as the President of Fairlington Mews Condominium Association. Our association borders King Street in Alexandria from intersection of S. Wakefield St. in Arlington to the entrance ramp of I-395 on the south side of the overpass. Our association recently spent over $60,000 to clean up the appearance of this area along the roadside. We removed an unsightly dying hedge, installed a new wooden fence to replace a chain link one and removed many pounds of trash hiding behind the hedge. We are currently maintaining the grass on the King Street side of our wooden fence and continuing to clean up litter thrown from cars along this area (even though that property belongs to the city of Alexandria) because we take pride in our neighborhood. I was disappointed to hear that the City Manager’s proposed annual operating budget for FY21 and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for FY 2021-2030 is not addressing this particular area along with the sections of King Street bordering Fairlington Arbor and Fairlington Glen all the way to Quaker Lane. I respectfully request that the City of Alexandria provide funding to address long-delayed stormwater management and landscaping improvements along King Street from North Quaker Lane to I-395. Adequate funding should be provided in both the City’s operating budget and the CIP. King Street East off of I-395 is heavily used by an ever-increasing population. We are also the first thing the tourists see as they travel east on King Street after getting off I-395 heading towards Old Town. The landscape along King Street needs some attention. Many trees along the roadway are badly damaged, stunted, or in poor health. Please consider improving the appearance of this area and let us know what we can do to help. Thanks for your consideration,

Comment # 19 (after revised budget presented 4.7.2020)

City has a large budget already. City employees get the cut. City employees already are the lowest paid employees in the whole region. Other neighboring depts keep their raised. Which were already much higher to begin with. Don’t tell us that we are at competitive pay when the avg disparity is already greater than 5,000-7,000 per year at the same level. Now the city cuts what have?? You’re running your employees into the ground. This is a PRIME reason why you are CONSTANTLY losing employees to places like Fairfax. The city’s budget is pretty large. They city wouldn’t have to keep continual hiring if they paid us, the employee, on equal footing as the city 10 min away. There are a few hundred employees I can likely speak for that feel the same.  

Comment # 20

Thank you for crafting a responsible revised budget in a quick turnaround that responds to the City's challenging circumstances. I also write to request that the City consider how it can continue to advance the Energy and Climate Change Action Plan Update without delay. This was removed from the draft budget with a note "funded by moving to CIP" but does not appear in the CIP in the coming year as far as I can tell. This plan is needed to provide guidance to City programs and capital projects that will be restarted when the City's fiscal position recovers. Without the plan, the City will not have a strategy to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. Fighting climate change is a near-term public health need as well as a long-term sustainable concern. I urge you to please find funding in the energy program budget that can keep this important work moving in FY21. Thank you.

Comment # 21

Comments about the FY 2021 Budget City of Alexandria April 18, 2020 Public Hearing Thank you for this opportunity to address you this morning. I am a resident of Alexandria and am an active advocate for the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040. I have met with several of you, as well as staff, regarding the goals presented in the EAP on Climate and Energy. First and foremost, let me state that I recognize the necessary and immediate focus on the health and safety of our families and neighbors during this very difficult public health crisis. I am grateful for the impressive continuity of City government exercised by you, our elected officials and by city employees. I am grateful for the full disclosure of COVID-19 related information that is updated daily on the city’s website and discussed during the many town halls and other public meetings. My comments about the proposed budget come to you acknowledging that we are experiencing a very serious and scary public health, social and economic situation. But my comments come to you knowing that you declared a climate emergency in Alexandria and committed to a “ citywide just transition and climate emergency mobilization effort to reverse global warming “ To this end, you reaffirmed your commitment to the goals, targets and actions set forth in the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040 in your unanimous declaration. As you know, the most immediate goal is to reduce community wide GHG emissions by 50% v/v 2005. As I read the City Manager’s Proposed Budget for FY21, which will guide our future path, I was hopeful that there would be some indication that your commitment to reducing GHG emissions was still alive. When I saw that the funding to update the Energy and Climate Action Plan had been removed entirely and not deferred, I was concerned. Another concern in this proposed budget was the reduction of the support for the Energy Management Plan. Both plans support the goals of the EAP. I am here to ask you to do everything you can, in light of this crisis, to not lose sight of the ecologically sound goals and targets in the EAP 2040. Dialing back on your commitment to reduce GHG emissions will only worsen the quality of the air we breathe, continue to threaten public health and compromise a much needed ecologically sound recovery. Smart economic recovery and growth goes hand in hand with combating climate change. We cannot take our eyes off the goal of reducing GHG emissions if we want a strong recovery. Climate disasters, such as rising sea levels that threaten our City will continue if we lose sight of our commitments to reduce GHG emissions and reign in disastrous effects of climate change. The cost and the challenges to reducing GHG emissions, will increase if we wait to design and implement the action plans necessary to accomplish this goal. Before this crisis, the budget included funding for the Energy and Climate Change Task Force. In meetings with Department of Energy staff, I learned that this task force was to be comprised of a broad and diverse representation of citizens and would work with a hired consultant to update the 2012 Energy and Climate Change Action Plan. The creation of the task force is an exciting opportunity for collaboration with climate change and energy experts and the citizenry of Alexandria. Alexandrians will become more informed involved and engaged citizens in protecting the health and welfare of the community. The EAP goals of Climate, Energy and Implementation, Education and Outreach will be positively impacted by the activities of the Task Force for years to come. The upfront investment for the consultant ($110,000) will be paid back many times over by protecting public health, informing citizens, growing a base of climate and energy experts and demonstrating your commitment to safeguard the environment for our future residents. As Jamie Margolin, 18 years of age and founder of the Zero Hour, asked in his WP op-ed “I will stay home to save the old, what will you do to save the young? “. (March 29, Wash. Post) Please consider adding back to the budget $110,000 for the Energy and Climate Change Task Force. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

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