BSCL met on November 1 for its monthly meeting.
Meeting was called to order at 7:30
The minutes of the October meeting were approved.
The poll on BSCL meeting start time will be open for another few weeks, and is running 24-10 in favor of keeping it at 7:30.
Delegate Patrick Hope spoke on three topics:
There are two Virginia constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. (See here for detailed descriptions.) Mr. Hope supports both of them. They would allow localities (like Arlington) to grant property tax exemptions in certain cases (see the above descriptions). That is necessary because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state.
Redistricting occurs every ten years after the US Census. To avoid the partisan gerrymandering that would likely occur if the ruling Party had its way, we need a Virginia constitutional amendment to take it out of the politicians’ hands and entrust redistricting to a nonpartisan method (many exist). This requires two successive VA legislatures to pass identical legislation that would go on a statewide ballot question which would then have to win. Del. Hope is pessimistic that it will be done, but feels it is one of the most important reforms we could make and will keep working at it.
11/1/2018 is the first day Virginians can apply for Medicaid. 7000 Arlingtonians are estimated to be eligible. ACA (Obamacare) premiums have risen in Virginia; attempts are being made to stabilize the market. Doctor reimbursement needs to be raised by state subsidy as hospital reimbursement is now.
Questions were asked:
-The state’s commitment to renewable energy is not what it should be.
-Toll lanes on 66: “Lexus lanes” or an option for all single drivers that didn’t exist before?
Tim McIntosh and Laura Simpson from the Arlington County government gave us information about the present and future of the Neighborhood Conservation (NC) program in a time of budget austerity:
NC is 50 years old this year. It has always been bond-funded, and $75M has been spent on it since 2000. The focus is on residential areas. In the last Capital Improvements budget cycle, NC was cut from $12M to $5M for the next two years. There will be an official review task force for NC in 2019, with internal and external (to the County government) cochairs. As a result, the NC mission won’t change, but some methods may. Barcroft has always been supportive of NC.
The 7th St trail connector project was funded for $135,000 in 2014. Changes designed, including the “boulders not bollards” change. Construction start not yet scheduled, but the duration should be 4 to 5 months. Tim promised to update design drawings on their website (see below for links) and send a hardcopy of the updated plan to Keith Fred.
The 9th St project will include curbs and gutters, and has been funded for $432,000. Final design may occur in January. During that work, temporary access to the community garden will be necessary.
Questions from the meeting attendees elicited the following information:
The County is struggling with imposing ways to improve contractor responsiveness, such as incentives and penalties. “On call” contractors are reluctant to sign up.
County project managers will meet with Barcroft block representative, affected residents, and the community garden reps on final design on the 9th St project.
NC competes with other capital improvement needs for the bond proceeds it’s under; the money is not dedicated to NC alone.
Cost sharing can’t always be achieved when an NC project accomplishes goals that other County agencies would have done years down the road (e.g. storm water drainage improvements in the 7th St project).
The meeting adjourned adjourned at 8:52 PM..