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Falls Church courts buyer for utility system

The city of Falls Church has issued a “request for expressions of interest,” seeking input from qualified utility entities that might have an interest in purchasing the city’s utility assets.

The City Council is undertaking an evaluation of options for the future of city water and sewer systems, with the goal of providing the best possible stewardship of the utility assets on behalf of its taxpayers and customers.

“Council has been considering the future of the water and sewer utilities for quite some time,” Mayor Nader Baroukh said. “Seeking industry input is the next step in the orderly, transparent, and comprehensive process where council will consider all options.”

The city has operated a public water supply system since the 1930s, growing significantly beyond the city's borders. The city's total service area is about 33 square miles, with 34,500 accounts and annual revenues of about $20 million.

Interested organizations and the public can find information about the city’s Water and Sewer Systems via www.fallschurchva.gov/WaterFuture.

During the coming months, the council will engage in deliberative process with stakeholders and industry leaders to chart out the future of its water and sewer systems. A sale of the water system would require approval by voters in a referendum.

Should that be the preferred option, it is possible a referendum for sale of the system could be before the voters as soon as November.

State reports revenue growth in January

January revenue collections in Virginia rose 3.4 percent over the prior year, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced last week. All major sources — except recordation and insurance premium taxes — contributed to the growth, according to the governor’s office. State revenues declined in December.

On a year-to-date basis, total revenue collections have risen 4 percent, slightly behind the revised annual forecast of 4.6 percent growth. Adjusted for the accelerated sales tax program, state revenues have grown 3.6 percent, trailing the economic base forecast of 4.7 percent growth.

“As the General Assembly considers the biennial budget, it is crucial that we continue our conservative fiscal approach and exercise discretion and restraint in our spending decisions,” McDonnell said in a released statement. “Virginia’s economy continues its long-term trend of recovery from the economic challenges of past years, but the growth has slowed and remains subject to many unstable factors.”

Grant to improve pedestrian safety in Burke

Fairfax County's Safe Routes to School application at Terra Centre Elementary School in Burke was selected by the Virginia Department of Transportation to receive $150,000 in funding for major pedestrian improvements around the school.

The funding will be used for improvements at the intersection of Burke Centre Parkway and Marshall Pond Road/Schoolhouse Woods Road. The changes will make the median a safer refuge for pedestrians and narrow the travel lanes to shorten crossing distances.

The grant allows the implementation of the first step of a plan produced by a citizen task force. This community task force reviewed the pedestrian and traffic safety issues along Burke Centre Parkway.