Arlington, Va budget News

This just in from the county. Because property values have gone up,home owners will pay a bit more in taxes but the tax rate will not increase. I am sorry to see the Artisphere go. The Artisphere is an under appreciated, under attended venue that was never marketed well. I have seen some great exhibits and events there that no one has ever heard of. With the right marketing I think it could have been a money maker for the county.

Here’s the news release:

Arlington County Board: No Tax Rate Increase in CY 2015

Board marks-up FY 2016 Budget, final vote April 21
Collaborated with APS to fully fund Schools
Increasing public safety funding
Increasing economic development funding
Funding internal auditor
Maintaining social safety net, bike-pedestrian programs
The Arlington County Board today indicated it will not raise property tax rates for Calendar Year 2015 when it adopts the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget on Tuesday, April 21. All five Board members indicated during the final budget work session that they will vote for no tax rate increase.

“By doing things smarter and more efficiently, and taking about $2.6 million in cuts, we have developed a balanced budget that preserves our community’s core values without raising the tax rate,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “This budget fully funds Schools, maintains core services and the social safety net, values our employees by providing a modest step increase, and invests more in the critical areas of economic development and public safety. I am confident that next week, we will adopt a budget that continues this County’s long track record of wisely managing taxpayer money while making strategic investments in infrastructure and environmental and economic sustainability.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve a package of changes to the County Manager’s Proposed Budget. The changes, called the “Chairman’s Mark” will be incorporated into the Budget that the Board will hold a final vote on at its Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, April 21.

Hynes noted that even without an increase in the tax rate, the average Arlington homeowner will see their property taxes rise due to an increase in assessments and a 1.8 percent increase in the water-sewer rate. The average homeowner will see their tax and fee burden rise from $7,286 to $7,567 – a four percent increase. That translates to about $23 a month or $281 a year.

“Every member of this Board is acutely aware of the tax burden on our residents,” Hynes said. “We felt strongly that we did not want to add to that burden.”

One of the biggest challenges the Board faced, she said, was meeting the needs of Arlington Public Schools, which is challenged by a continuing increase in student enrollment and the need to expand, refurbish or replace aging schools and build new ones. The Board added $6.18 million in funding, an increase of .6% from FY 2015, to fully meet the School Board’s request for funding.

“We were able to collaborate closely with the School Board to come up with a solution that works for Schools and works for our community,” Hynes said. “I commend the School Board for taking a hard look at their own budget and working with us to ensure that APS remains one of the best public school systems in the nation. Our action in this budget means that approximately 46.5% of locally generated revenue will be spent to support our youngest Arlingtonians.”

Artisphere to close, other cuts planned

The Board indicated that it will accept $2.6 million of the $4.1 million in proposed optional cuts offered by County Manager Barbara Donnellan when she unveiled her Proposed 2016 Budget in February. The largest of those cuts is achieved by closing Artisphere, the County’s critically acclaimed arts and cultural center in Rosslyn; conversion of Metrobus route 3A to ART service; redirection and transitional support for the 86-slot Kids in Action program located at Drew and Carver centers to APS Extended Day; and no expansion of the County’s urban agriculture offerings.

At the same time, the Board indicated that it will fully fund pedestrian-bike programs, the Fresh Aire environmental sustainability program and cluster care for seniors aging in place.

Responding to community requests the Board also will provide approximately $725,000 in funding to support the following: the Community Service Board’s request for mental health support at the Detention Center and a nurse practitioner at the Drewery Center, an additional Animal Control Officer for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, a salary supplement for Arlington’s Office of the Public Defender to ensure competitiveness and improve retention, staffing to cover an unfunded mandate requiring comprehensive data collection in the Circuit Court, and 5 new positions in the Sheriff’s Office.

Significant increase in economic development funding

The Board significantly boosted funding for economic development, citing the County’s historically high office vacancy rate and increased regional competition.

The County’s Department of Economic Development will gain $900,000 in funding and five new positions. In addition, it will gain $200,000 in funding for travel and tourism. The Board also said it intends to give the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, a non-profit that promotes economic development along the Columbia Pike corridor, $100,000 in additional funding to support its place-making and economic development activities. In addition, the Board will provide $200,000 to support TandemNSI, a public-private venture designed to connect federal agencies to tech entrepreneurs.

“Arlington must stay competitive; broadening our commercial base beyond the federal government is critical to ensuring the long-term economic viability and overall sustainability of our community,” Hynes said. “The Board’s willingness to invest more money in economic development underscores how serious we are about becoming a technological hub and attracting businesses – large and small, new and established – to our County.”

Employee compensation

The Board indicated that it will accept the Manager’s recommendation to give employees a step pay increase, fully fund pensions and reinstitute Live-Where-You-Work grants that provide grants to employees who want to rent or buy homes in Arlington.

The Board responded to more than 1,000 comments made by the public in two public hearings, letters, emails, phone calls and comments submitted through the County website. The Board also held a series of work sessions on the Budget. At the 6:30 p.m. session of the April County Board Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the Board will hold its last public discussion on the FY 2016 Budget and vote on it. The Public Hearing on the Budget is closed and the Board will not be taking any further public testimony.

The FY 2015 Fiscal Year ends June 30, 2015.

Media Contact: Mary Curtius, 703-228-7943

A walk around Arlington, Va.

I am loving this great weather we’ve had the last few days. Did my first Arlington Loop (W&OD to Custis, back to W&OD..around 20 miles…and yes, I’m a tad know where) bike ride of the season. I love riding along the river and through the parks. Yesterday I took a 3 mile walk through the Overlee Knolls, Berkshire Oakwood, Crescent Hills neighborhoods. People take such pride in their gardening skills. I just love checking out all the flowers and new growth..and who doesn’t love the smell of fresh mulch in the morning?

Here are some scenes from my walkabout

When I first moved here over 20 years ago, I had never seen a black squirrel. When I saw my first one i was so excited. I thought it was some kind of mutant squirrel. Now I know better. They are still my favorites.

When I first moved here over 20 years ago, I had never seen a black squirrel. When I saw my first one I was so excited. I thought it was some kind of mutant squirrel. Now I know better. They are still my favorites.

I lovet these multicolored daffodils.

I love these multicolored daffodils.

Tulip Trees

Tulip Trees

More flowers!

More flowers!



School zone. Lots of young ones walking to school on these beautiful mornings

School zone. Lots of young ones walking to school on these beautiful mornings

And some of them riding their bikes.

And some of them riding their bikes.

Westover Village in Arlington, Va.-My “walk to” neighborhood

I just posted a link to an article talking about how Arlington is one of the most walkable cities. I live near the East Falls Church Metro and my “walk to” neighborhood is Westover Village. The commercial area of Westover is located on Washington Blvd between N. Mckinley Rd. and Longfellow Streets. The businesses here and the the library provide a modern urban feel to this neighborhood. Residents in this area also have easy (healthy walk, or metro bus) access to the East Falls Church Metro.

In Recent Years, the Westover Beer Garden has provided a neighborhood gathering place. On warmer evenings you can find gatherings of friends and families listening to music and sampling some excellent craft beers. The beer garden also now has an indoor bar and restaurant. The adjacent grocery has a decent stock of must haves.



Ayers General store has pretty much everything you need. All kinds of hardware, gardening supplies and that birthday gift for the childrens party this afternoon that you forgot about until just now. Here is a photo I just took in front of Ayers….ready to start gardening?


After you load up your car with all your Garden supplies don’t forget to stop into Toby’s for an ice cream or latte. YumIMG_4671


Lost Dog Pizza and The Stray Cat are right across the street. Here are my two favorite dishes from Lost Dog

Lost Dog Waffle Fries. The favorite of Waffle Fry afficianados everywhere.

Lost Dog Waffle Fries. The favorite of Waffle Fry afficianados everywhere.

Lost Dog Three Cheese Pizza

Lost Dog Three Cheese Pizza


Here are a few more of the local establishments along with the wonderful Westover Library. Who wouldn’t want to live around here!IMG_4658







And we are all waiting with the greatest of anticipation for the Grand Opening of our very own world (well at least the great Washington, DC area) famous Italian store

Stay tuned for a review of that….I’ll be one of the first in line.

Need to get rid of non-recyclable and/or hazardous materials in Arlington, Va? April 11th is your day.

If you have items that you need to dispose of but they are not recyclable in the regular pickup and cannot be put in the trash, April 11th is a day not to miss. You can dispose of those items with the county, free of charge.

Here is information from the website. Full information can be found here:


HHM Drop-Off Guidelines

Materials should be in their original containers or properly labeled.
Leaking containers should be over-packed to prevent spills.
Nonhazardous trash materials will not be accepted.
Business and commercial wastes will not be accepted.
Bring ID to verify residency.
Materials are accepted only during posted event hours.
Smoking isn’t allowed at the drop-off site.
The Arlington Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) is a biannual event at which residents can safely dispose of household hazardous materials (HHM), bikes, small metal items, shoes, clothing and other recyclable items.

Before you come to E-CARE, talk to your neighbors. Combine your items and save a trip to the collection site. Business and commercial wastes will not be accepted.

Accepted Materials

Automotive fluids
Car care products
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
Corrosives (acids/caustics)
Fire extinguishers
Flammable solvents
Fluorescent tubes
Fuels/petroleum products
Household cleaners
Lawn and garden chemicals
Paint products (25-can limit)
Photographic chemicals
Poisons (pesticides)
Propane gas cylinders (small hand-held or larger)
Swimming pool chemicals

Unaccepted Materials

Explosives and ammunition
Medical wastes
Prescription medications
Radioactive materials
Smoke detectors

We’ll collect household devices containing mercury (thermostats, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, manometers, barometers, hygrometers and liquid mercury). CFLs will also be collected on site.


Bikes for the World will be accepting serviceable and repairable bikes to be sent to countries where they are needed for basic transportation. A $10 donation per bike is requested to offset shipping charges. Portable sewing machines, baseball and soccer equipment, and bike parts and accessories are also collected and shipped overseas with the reconditioned bikes. For more information, call 703-525-0931.

Small Metal Items

Acceptable small metal items include pots, pans, tools, pipes, venetian blinds, small appliances and metal items fitting an 11-1/2-inch by 46-inch opening.

Look Up Your Item

Small metal items can also be dropped off at the Inert Materials and Scrap Metal Drop-Off Facility. Call 703-228-6570 for an appointment.


Computers, printers, keyboards, scanners, copiers, cellphones and televisions (no large wooden console TVs) will be collected. A $20 fee for televisions and $15 for computer monitors applies, but LED or LCD monitors and TVs are free. Cash or checks only (made payable to Arlington County Treasurer).

Electronics can also be collected curbside for recycling or dropped off at the Electronics Collection and Recycling Center (ERCR). Request an electronics pickup online or call 703-228-6570 (after hours, select option 2).

Clothing, Linens, Shoes, Microwaves, and Air Conditioners

Art for Humanity will be collecting “gently used” but functional clothing, linens, shoes, microwaves, air conditioners, rugs, and pots, pans and other kitchen items. Winter clothing is most needed. Linens are needed, including sheets, blankets, bed spreads and towels. Receipts for tax purposes are available. Financial donations are appreciated to assist with shipping.

Eyeglasses and Durable Medical Equipment

Your old eyeglasses and hearing aids will be cleaned, sorted and dispensed at clinics overseas run by volunteers. Donated wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, canes, braces and strollers are shipped to clinics in remote villages.

Chocolate Bunnies

My daughter and a couple of her Millennial friends will be coming to my house for Easter Dinner on Sunday. She told me that in spite of their adult status they are ever hopeful that the Easter Bunny left a couple of Chocolate Bunnies for them. Of course that ever thoughtful bunny will. I wish I could tell you that I was too mature to find this cartoon funny but, the truth is, it never gets old.


Bid on this Impeccable home in the heart of Washington DC

Bidding on this terrific historic home in the heart of Washington, DC starts at $1.00 with no reserve. Unlike many historic homes in our area George Washington did not actually sleep here. However, he was involved in the original plans for this home. This home has only had one owner but has been occupied by multiple tenants over the years.

This home boasts 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels in the Residence. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators. It’s hard to find a home this spacious in the heart of the city. Do you love to entertain. The dining room can accomodate up to 140 guests.

Additional amenities include a basketball court:

A tennis court:

A media room:

And even a bowling alley:

Here is an photo of this incredible home. Hurry….this will go quick!

April fools from Your Arlington Home Pro!

Contact me for real homes for sale in Arlington, Va and surrounding areas.

Jane Jensen