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Arlington to Falls Church: $2.2 Million Bill Was a Mistake

by ARLnow.com February 18, 2011 at 8:45 am 1,838 16 Comments

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Arlington will be missing out on an expected revenue windfall due to a software error.

Last month Arlington sent Falls Church a notice that it could owe an additional $2.2 million for use of the Arlington County Detention Facility. At the time, the county said a “clerical error” resulted in Falls Church being undercharged for the housing of prisoners. Falls Church even admitted that it owed the money, according to the Washington Examiner.

Now, the county says “an outside contractor’s software error” resulted in an over-count of Falls Church prisoners. Falls Church only owes Arlington $123,000, the county said in a statement last night.

“Arlington County regrets the error and the difficulties that it posed for the City as it develops its FY 2012 Budget,” Arlington said. “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Department will now report monthly on Falls Church prisoners. The report and applicable prisoner data will be shared with the Falls Church Sheriff for verification.”

The county’s contract for judicial, police and fire department services is up for renewal this year. Arlington says it will renegotiate the contract “to reflect changes in technology, procedures and services that have occurred since 1989, when the City of Falls Church first contracted with Arlington County to provide the City with judicial and public safety services.”

  • Lou

    That’s a big Oops.

  • Lacy Forest

    Wow. Being a frequent reader of the Falls Church News Press, it was a big story as the Falls Church city council was fairly gobsmacked by this bill and was seriously struggling with how to get the money to pay it, in the face of large proposed cuts in the city budget. Now it’s, “Oh, nevermind.”

  • G. Clifford Prout

    One would think folks would get the details right before the story lands in the press. I’m just saying… it’s only a matter of counting. This isn’t brain surgery.

    • Lou

      Yeah, and it’s not like a jail ever needs to be able to accurately count things.

  • Westover

    Maybe it is time for Falls Church to go back to contracting with Fairfax County for these services, the drive is further but might save some grief. Does anyone know if Arlington makes any sort of profit off the service provided to Falls Church?

    • NArl

      I assume you live in the county why would you want to take funds, money from the ACDC and give it to FCDC. Thats just dumb, of course they make some money off the deal. Following your logic then why don’t all the companies paying taxes in the county and have them move to Fairfax. Your dumb.

      • Westover

        Yes, I am live in the county, but my personal code of ethics and conduct lead me to be disgusted when I see us almost rip off a much smaller municipality. Actually, I hope we in the county are not profiting, other than getting some savings through economies of scale, with such a venture.

    • Rick

      we profit when we do it wrong…

      • Westover

        Boy, do we!

  • LyonSteve

    Just getting the story straight so they can raise the property tax. Have to make up for that “lost” revenue somehow.

  • OX4

    Hey Falls Church — actually, you guys owe *me* $2.2 million. Honestly.

  • AllenB

    What seems odd, is that while Arlington (and/or their contractors) made the mistake, Falls Church, after examining the bill and info, said that they agreed they owed the money. It must have been a very convincing to make both localities agree to it. I’d make sure that contractor is gone.

  • John Goilios

    The City already cut their contract for Fire Marshal services with the County. What could be next?


  • 4Arl

    No one in either party seems to pay attention to the details in county finances, except people on ARLnow. A million here, a million there and soon you’re talking real money. Wonder if that’s why Brown isn’t around anymore.

  • K

    Could someone start watching the books already?! It was a ridiculous oversight in the first place, then ridiculous to be wrong in the revision too. Whatever department oversees this area needs to take serious action- assessing the current processes involved, identify issues and opportunities for improvement, and implement changes that will prevent further garbage of this kind. I’m glad they are addressing it but this is well beyond acceptable error.

  • John Andre

    Falls Church has enough problems on its own with a limited tax base and Fairfax County hounding them on the water issue. I’m glad Arlington lowered the bill.

    I’m a News-Press reader myself. I also suspect that “Benito” Cuccinelli is behind the court decisions favoring Fairfax Co. over Falls Church.


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