The new Arlington Public Schools proposed budget includes less money for minor construction and major maintenance, after the Arlington County Board approved a smaller tax increase than was sought by the School Board.
The School Board had asked for an additional 0.5 cent tax increase dedicated to school funding, in addition to the County Manager’s proposed 3.2 cent tax increase. In the end, the County Board approved a 3.5 cent increase, only 0.3 cents more than the manager’s proposal — and that increase will be split by the county and the school system.
With an earlier version of its proposed budget now facing a shortfall of $1.4 million, the School Board cut about $600,000 from the minor construction/major maintenance fund, and another $600,000 from the school system’s reserve fund. Even with the cuts, however, the maintenance and construction fund and the reserve fund are both set to receive more than $7 million apiece in the budget.
Last week Arlington Public School parents were informed in a letter that all currently enrolled students who were eligible for bus service this year will remain eligible in the upcoming 2013-14 school year.
In order to maintain bus service while the school system adds nearly 1,000 additional students, APS is expected to add 10 new full-time positions to its transportation services department. The transportation budget will increase by about $1.75 million in Fiscal Year 2014, compared to FY 2013. All told, the FY 2014 proposed budget for transportation is $16.1 million.
The transportation budget boost comes after hundreds of parents protested changes to the busing policy at the beginning of this school year. The changes — intended to allow the school system to stop adding buses and drivers to its fleet — backfired when impacted parents complained bitterly about their children no longer being allowed to ride the bus to and from school.
The Arlington School Board is holding a public budget work session tonight (April 23) starting at 6:00 p.m. The School Board is expected to approve a final budget at its meeting on May 2.
Update at 3:20 p.m. — The package has been determined to be non-hazardous and the all-clear has been given.
Earlier: Arlington County’s bomb squad is on the scene of a suspicious package outside the Pentagon City Metro station.
Police have established a perimeter around the package, located behind a fence adjacent to a pedestrian sidewalk, near the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street. A bomb squad member in protective gear has walked over to the package and it is now apparently being inspected or analyzed remotely.
The east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station, next to the Pentagon Centre shopping center, is closed.
After more than two years of construction, Z-Burger has finally opened its new restaurant in Virginia Square.
The D.C.-based local burger chain opened its first Arlington location, at 3325 Wilson Blvd, to the public over the weekend.
Inside, the restaurant features a bright interior with high ceilings, plenty of floor-to-ceiling glass, and lots of red design accents, from the seating to the multiple Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machines. Outside, there’s free parking for customers — through several spots require drivers to exit by reversing onto busy Wilson Blvd.
No store hours are posted, but an employee tells us the restaurant will be open very late on Fridays and Saturdays — from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. On all other days, Z-Burger will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., we’re told.
Z-Burger offers hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteak sandwiches, a large selection of toppings and sauces, 75 milkshake varieties, and freshly cut fries and onion rings.
Editor’s Note: This new sponsored Q&A column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC.
Question: A couple of weeks ago I was out with my buddies and had a few drinks. Instead of taking a cab home, I decided to take a nap in my parked car until I sobered up. The next thing I know an officer is knocking on my window, giving me a sobriety test, and arresting me for a DUI. My keys were in the ignition because I was listening to the radio, but the engine wasn’t turned on. How can I be charged with a DUI if I wasn’t even driving?
Although many assume that DUI or “driving under the influence” only involves driving, it also applies where someone is operating a vehicle — in this case, using the radio.
If you’re drunk and sitting inside the vehicle by yourself and the key is in the ignition, it doesn’t matter if the engine is on or off; this is still considered a DUI because you are “operating” the vehicle. Going even further, if the key is located within your reach or if you have a keyless ignition (push or remote start), as long as you are in a position to turn the car on, you can still be charged with a DUI.
While you may have been charged with a DUI — the circumstances are much different than a typical case where someone, for example, is pulled over while driving down Wilson Boulevard. In any criminal or DUI case, the facts and circumstances of your particular situation will be taken into consideration in determining the severity of the penalty.
In a complicated situation like the one you’ve described, it’s important not to try and talk your way out of trouble because anything you say can be used against you. It’s best to consult with an attorney who understands DUI laws to avoid digging yourself into an even deeper hole.
Question: I was recently pulled over going 78 in a 55 zone on I-66 East. This is apparently considered “reckless driving” in Virginia. I moved to Northern Virginia from Rhode Island a few weeks ago- if I’m found guilty, will I have points on my new Va. license and will the ticket show up on a background check?
Although the meaning of the offense varies from state to state, in Virginia, “reckless driving” has nothing to do with your driving behavior apart from driving 20 mph over the speed limit. It counts for 6 points on a Virginia driver’s license and shows up as a Class 1 misdemeanor on record.
Since you haven’t switched your license over from R.I. to Va. yet, the number of points you may or may not receive really depends on R.I. laws. If you apply and receive a Va. license before the conviction and processing of the charge, 6 points will be issued on your Va. driver’s license.
The county’s BikeArlington program posted the following photo of one of the shelters on Facebook.
“The temporary rack assembly shown here will be replaced this week with 12 permanent racks,” BikeArlington said. “The two bike shelters are designed to accommodate 12 racks each, which together will provide cover for up to 48 bikes.”
“The Clarendon shelters are identical to Arlington’s two existing bike shelters. The first was located at the Shirlington bus station. The second recently opened at the Pentagon City metro station. An air pump and repair stand with basic tools will also be installed at all three bike shelter locations sometime this summer.”
The new bike shelters are part of the larger Clarendon Metro Plaza project, which has resulted in new paving, seating, lighting, landscaping and newspaper racks outside the Metro station. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this spring and summer.
Photo via Facebook
The bad news: you’re right. The Washington, D.C. area has the second-highest rent of any large metropolitan area in the country, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
At a median rent of $1,391 per month, the region’s rent is more expensive than San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and second only to San Jose. Adding to the misery, D.C.’s rent has been rising faster than any other large metro area, according to the Washington Examiner.
The good news: expect rents to start going down, at least in some areas. According to Bloomberg News, D.C. area rent is expected to decrease up to 2 percent this year, and fall even faster next year, due to an oversupply of new apartment buildings. There will “‘no doubt’ be a ‘glut’ of apartments in the next 12 to 18 months,” Bloomberg was told.
Just don’t expect the rent to keep falling. Bloomberg reports that the local apartment market should stabilize by 2016 and rents should start increasing, once again, by about 4 percent annually.
We’re interested to find out if Arlington has seen any impacts from the expected apartment glut. If you rent an apartment and you’ve renewed your lease in the past 12 months, how much did your rent change?
Bomb Squad to Receive Protective Vest Donation – The Arlington County Fire Department’s bomb squad will receive a donation of two tactical protective vests next Tuesday. The vests will protect bomb squad personnel in explosive-related situations. Worth nearly $20,000, the vests are being donated by Firehouse Subs.
Lander Defends His Record — School Board member James Lander, who’s running for re-election and facing a challenge for the Democratic endorsement, is defending his record when it comes to school redistricting, student transportation and his support of Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. Lander says he “will continue to press for ways to improve student achievement and address the needs of a growing school population without breaking the bank.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Garners Third AAA Rating — Ratings agency Fitch has reaffirmed its AAA rating for Arlington’s debt. All three bond rating agencies have now given Arlington their top ratings for the year. [Arlington County]
‘Two Wheel Tuesday’ Event Tonight — The county’s BikeArlington program is holding its fourth “Two Wheel Tuesday” educational event of the year. Tonight’s event is “Savvy Cycling Tips,” which lets interested riders “learn the best tips on safe biking so you can ride in traffic comfortably.” The event will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Westover Library (1644 North McKinley Road). [BikeArlington]
Photo by Wolfkann