Officials from Arlington’s economic development office asked the county board to fund the county’s tourism promotion efforts now that the hotel tax surcharge that funded such efforts is being allowed to expire.
“I think we have a great program,” Arlington Economic Development Director Terry Holzheimer said at a board work session this afternoon. “The program has value.”
“This board has been put in a very difficult position,” said board member Jay Fisette, adding that he hope to “come up with some way to share” the cost of tourism promotion with local hotels to save money from the already-stretched county budget.
Although Arlington has developed “much, much stronger ties to the local hotel industry,” Holzheimer told the board that he did not believe hotel operators could be persuaded to make a voluntary contribution to a tourism fund from their bottom line.
“Even if we got a few to do it, I don’t think the majority would do it,” he said.
With that in mind, Holzheimer asked the board to allocate $450,000 from the county’s budget to fund the Convention and Visitor service between between Jan. 1, 2012, when the current surcharge expires, and June 1, 2012, when the surcharge could be reinstated.
Holzheimer said he believes the Virginia General Assembly, which rejected the renewal of Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge last month, might be persuaded to to pass it next year.
“I do believe we’ll mount an effort next year and be successful,” Holzheimer said.
Board member Barbara Favola, however, was skeptical of the General Assembly passing an Arlington-friendly tax measure.
“I don’t think that’s a realistic position,” she said.
The board will adopt a final FY 2012 budget in April.
Update at 2:30 p.m. – The ‘all clear’ has been given. Streets and sidewalks are being reopened.
Police have shut down sidewalks in the area of Wilson Boulevard and North Quincy Street in Ballston due to a bomb threat at Everest College (801 N Quincy St).
The building has been evacuated and will be searched by police.
North Quincy Street has been closed between Wilson Boulevard and 9th Street. Traffic on Wilson Boulevard is unaffected.
A Jeep rolled on its side after a T-bone collision at the busy section of King Street and South Walter Reed Drive/Beauregard Street.
The accident and the resulting emergency response by Arlington and Alexandria units snarled lunchtime traffic in all directions.
A White Top taxi cab was also involved in the accident. It’s unclear if there were any injuries.
It was ladies night at the Lyon Park Community House last night. A capacity crowd that included most of the local political establishment applauded as four Democratic women announced their candidacy for public office.
Stephanie Clifford, a Democratic precinct captain and a new Green Valley (Nauck) homeowner, was the closest thing to a surprise. Clifford announced that she is running for the 49th District House of Delegates seat currently held by Del. Adam Ebbin, who’s running for state Senate.
“I’m sure a number of you are surprised to see me up here,” she said. “But I found a reason to serve and thought I’d step up.”
Former Arlington County Young Democrats President Gordon Simonett introduced Clifford.
“One thing that is clear when you meet Stephanie is that she has a true commitment to community values and progressive values,” he said.
“No work gives me greater satisfaction then public service,” Garvey said. “But there are things i want to do for you now that I really can’t do as a school board member.”
“We’re in trouble as a nation and a state,” Garvey continued. “We’re digging ourselves into a hole. We’re not investing like we need to. Education, transportation, infrastructure, the environment, the health and welfare of our citizens — we need to invest in the future. That’s why I want to be a state Senator.”
Ebbin, who is also running for Ticer’s seat, attended the meeting but did not give a speech. Instead, supporters did the talking by wearing “Ebbin for State Senate” stickers and distributing fliers that beckoned Democrats to “join the A-Team.”
As evidence, ACPD said that 390 bikes secured with cable or chains were stolen last year.
“The cables can quickly be cut with a rechargeable cutting tool and the padlocks are easily broken,” police noted in the email, which was sent as part of the department’s effort to reduce the number of bicycle larcenies around the county.
Police say the best way to prevent bike theft is to use a U-lock. See other bike theft prevention tips here.
The Arlington County Auxiliary Police Unit is looking for a few good men and women to join their ranks.
The unit was formed in 1942 to help keep Arlington safe while the full-time police force was reduced due to military service during World War II. It has been an active unit ever since.
Auxiliary officers volunteer at least 180 hours per year performing various law enforcement functions, including:
- Bike and foot patrols of county roads, parks, trails, and commercial areas
- Handling accidents and other traffic incidents
- Assisting at DUI checkpoints
- Conducting child safety-seat inspections and installations
- Providing security and crowd control at special events, such as the Marine Corps Marathon, July 4th celebration, Crystal City 5K Friday and other parades, festivals, and races
- Patrolling shopping malls during the holidays
Interested applicants should be “21 years of age, a resident of Northern Virginia, and a U.S. citizen with 60 college credit hours and a good driving record.” Find more information here or here, or call Heather Hurlock at 703-228-4057.
Did Arlington “Fare Well” in General Assembly? — Despite the failure of Arlington’s two top legislative priorities, the Washington Post thinks the county did okay. In related news, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman told the paper that the county will probably not replace the $1 million in tourism funding lost by the expiration of Arlington’s hotel tax surcharge. [Washington Post]
AP Scores Rise in Arlington — Arlington students are taking Advanced Placement exams in record numbers. Meanwhile, the average score on AP exams rose last year. [Sun Gazette]
Local Cyclists, Pedestrians Look to Europe — “Wouldn’t it be great to have the kind of bike facilities that can be found in many parts of Europe right here in the DC area?” asks the CommuterPageBlog. To that end, the Arlington County Bicycle Advisory Committee will be screening a film on Monday that explores the bike and pedestrian infrastructure in Europe. [CommuterPageBlog]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki