Personal security cameras, speed cameras in school zones, summer youth employment programs and eviction prevention funding are just a few of the final additions included in the fiscal year 2024 budget by the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday.
Council approved funding a $20,000 program to encourage businesses and homeowners with a “small incentive” to set up security cameras to deter crime, as well as increase their coordination with the Alexandria Police Department.
“I like the concept,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “I think we want our residents to partner with us in providing this kind of neighborhood visibility.”
Other additions include $490,000 for five speed cameras at school crossing zones around the city. Last year, Council approved $400,000 for the speed camera program in five school zones.
Not all of the requests made the final cut. Vice Mayor Amy Jackson’s request to give the Alexandria Commission for Women $20,000 for it’s 50th anniversary event failed to gain consensus.
Council also took $657,629 from the budget that was intended for the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center (200 S. Whiting Street), pending proposals from City Manager Jim Parajon to find alternative uses for the facility, pursue regional partnerships for facility use and optimize capacity for the underutilized space.
The full list of additions to the budget are below.
- Out of School Time Program (OSTP) staffing ($200,000) — This increases paid leave and benefits for part-time staffing with the city’s Out of School Time program.
- Fee waiver for OSTP participants ($15,000) — This would fund a waiver for program participants eligible for SNAP and TANF.
- Speed cameras in school zones ($490,000) — This adds five photo speed cameras to school crossing zones prioritized by the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services
- Childcare services ($50,000) — This will provide child-minding services at City COuncil town hall events, as well as select board, committee and commission meetings.
- Additional eviction prevention funding ($150,000) — This would increase the current funding level of $100,000, all of which will “reasonably assist 40 households in FY24,” according to the city.
- Central coordinator for immigrant affairs/refugee settlement ($110,000) — This would explore a new position or series of positions that could advance efforts to connect immigrant communities with information, resources and services and address the city’s challenges with immigrant populations.
- RPCA Mental Health Pilot position ($75,000) — These funds would go toward developing a Department of Recreation Parks and Cultural Activities pilot program for youth mental health services.
- Summer youth employment program ($214,943) — This would expand the program by 50%, to serve 255 children (85 more than the current program).
- Study for local housing voucher program ($250,000) — This would add funding for a study on a voucher-like program that stabilizes housing and enables access for low-income housholds across the city’s private rental market.
- City library security ($70,000) — This funding maintains library security staffing at current levels.
- Department of Aging and Adult Services ($19,000) — This fills the gap created by Virginia budget formula changed related to the Older Americans Act.
- DASH service line expansion on Line 33 ($120,000) — This would expand DASH Line 33 service from once every 60 minutes to 30 minutes on Sundays, easing connections to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station.
- Visit Alexandria advertising ($78,000) — This additional funding can be used by Visit Alexandria for any sort of media, online or print advertising, either regionally or nationally at their discretion.
- City Council aide compensation increase ($5,300) — This is a 2% scale compensation adjustment.
- Private security camera incentive program ($20,000)
- Continuation of AEDP economic recovery manager ($147,208) — The ERPM is responsible for creating and administering AEDPs Business Association Grant program, which supports Alexandria business associations as well as other ARDP rogramming to promote economic recovery.
- Rental inspection program enhancement ($136,000) — This allows staff to evaluate non-compliant multi-family rental properties.
The budget will be approved on May 3 and go into effect on July 1.
Alexandria could receive refugees from Afghanistan — “Currently, it is believed that many of the Afghan evacuees will settle in the U.S., including Alexandria, under Special Immigrant Visas, which are given to Iraqi or Afghan nationals who have been employed by the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator or interpreter, or has been employed by a contractor of the United States government overseas. SIVs are eligible for the same resettlement benefits as refugees for up to eight months after arrival. They arrive with legal permanent resident status and can apply for citizenship after five years.” [City of Alexandria]
Bishop Ireton grad chosen for Visa Black Scholar and Jobs Program — “Luke Pilot, an Alexandria resident who attended Bishop Ireton High School, is one of the 50 students selected for the program. Pilot is attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” [Patch]
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra changes performance selection next month — “The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) had planned to open the 2021-2022 Season by performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Alexandria Choral Society. It was announced earlier today that because of COVID-19 concerns, they have opted to perform the Fifth Symphony instead.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Thunderstorms likely (during the day). Potential for severe thunderstorms. High 81F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near an inch… Becoming partly cloudy after some evening rain. Potential for flooding rains. Low 62F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]
New job: Bank teller in West End — “At Wells Fargo, we are looking for talented people who will put our customers at the center of everything we do. We are seeking candidates who embrace diversity, equity and inclusion in a workplace where everyone feels valued and inspired.” [Indeed]
Photos: Beyer Attends Presidential Inauguration — “It was a thrill for Megan and me to be at the inauguration of Pres. @JoeBiden and Vice Pres. @KamalaHarris.” [Twitter]
Former Beyer Chief Of Staff To Begin Job In Biden Administration — “(Tanya) Bradsher will take on the new role as the senior director for partnerships and global engagement. Previously, she served as the National Security Agency lead for the Biden-Harris Transition Team.” [Patch]
Mayor Tweets Excitement After Biden Inauguration — “‘My whole soul is in it!’ So excited for the era of @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris to get started. Let’s do this.” [Twitter]
Propane Cylinder Catches Fire in Old Town North — “Units operating in the 600 block of E Abington for a damaged propane cylinder that caught fire earlier this afternoon. Units from station 204 and Hazmat station 209 quickly assessed and handled the incident. No injuries reported. An AFD fire marshal conducted the investigation.” [Twitter]
Free Online Job Training Courses Available — “The SkillUp® Alexandria City & Arlington County initiative is available to help residents take charge of their futures and get back to work. Designed with input from regional employers, the initiative provides recently laid-off workers as well as those who are employed and looking to change or advance in their careers free and unlimited access to more than 5,000 high-quality, Skillsoft online training courses for 180 days; the courses, used by many Fortune 500 companies, are presented in English and Spanish. The initiative enables workers to demonstrate the kind of initiative employers are looking for by upgrading their skills during this challenging time even while most bricks-and-mortar education and training providers remain closed.” [City of Alexandria]
College Loans Available for Immigrants — “Paying for college can be expensive, especially for DACA or TPS recipients, asylum seekers or undocumented. Learn about two renewable scholarship opportunities ranging from $2,000 to $33,000 for eligible immigrant students–first deadline Feb 1.” [Twitter]
Torpedo Factory Artists’ Work To Be Recognized in International Exhibition — “Ruth Gowell and Alison Sigethy are two glass artists who have studios at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. A new museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, Imagine Museum, showcases works made of glass. The work of these two artists has been selected for the museum’s upcoming exhibition, OpART/Glass. The honor is especially significant for two reasons. First, the museum hosts only one exhibition per year. Second, it is open to glass artists from around the world.” [Zebra]
Today’s Weather — “Sun and a few passing clouds (during the day). High 53F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 33F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Team Member — “Toastique is a rapidly growing company looking for passionate new talent to help create smoothies, gourmet toast & juice while giving the customers an incredible experience the minute they walk through the door. Employees will be joining a team to attain a fun, clean, fresh environment for a gourmet toast and juice bar in the new SW waterfront area. We are focused on our unique concept that combines great taste, responsibly sourced ingredients, and a welcoming environment.” [Indeed]
Alexandria Man Killed in Southern Va. — “A man and a woman from the Washington area were found dead Saturday on a road in a quiet part of southern Virginia, and state police said the two were homicide victims. Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., were found at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday.” [Washington Post, WSET]
APD Crosswalk Enforcement in Del Ray — “APD’s Traffic Safety Officers successfully completed a crosswalk enforcement operation in the 400 block of E. Monroe Ave. today. This resulted in 23 citations being issued in 4 hours.” [Twitter]
Bus Barn Work Starts — “Demolition has officially started on the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) ‘bus barn’ to make room for a large new residential development. That development of 286 apartments will include 12 affordable units.” [Alexandria Living]
Local Resident Stands Up to Cancer — “The man with the open heart and time for hundreds of community causes can now use a boost to help him with his passion for cancer research. He needs pledges. Starting at 4:26 p.m. on Monday, February 10, [Pat] Malone will ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ for 24-hours straight at Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar in Arlington.” [Zebra]
Naturalization Ceremony in Alexandria — “For nearly two decades, Vinod Krishnkumar had been waiting for this day to come. It was a day his father in India dreamed about but never got to experience for himself: On Jan. 31, Krishnkumar was among 170 individuals from around the world to take the Oath of Citizenship during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” [Gazette Packet]
Wilson Skeptical of ‘National Landing’ Name — “For Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, the term National Landing was always meant to help streamline the Amazon bid. He joked that he was a resister to the name, adding he still used Potomac Yard because that’s how his constituents know the area. ‘If we talk 10 years from now, will people be calling it National Landing? I don’t know. I doubt it,’ Wilson said.” [Washington Business Journal]
VT Grad Students Helping Plan Alexandria Campus — “Fresh off of four years in Blacksburg earning a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at Virginia Tech, Logan Eisenbeiser moved to Northern Virginia last year to pursue his master of computer engineering at the university’s Falls Church campus. Little did he know that he would be helping to set the stage for future Hokies who also will study in Northern Virginia at Virginia Tech’s future Innovation Campus.” [Virginia Tech]
Unique House for Sale in Old Town — “The house’s attachment to a condominium complex is not its only unusual aspect. It once was the registration building for the Old Colony Motor Lodge. The motel, built in 1960, was designed by Charles A. Pearson to imitate buildings in Colonial Williamsburg and at the University of Virginia… The registration building was modeled after the 1782 Benjamin Waller House in Williamsburg.” [Washington Post]
ACPS Touts Dual-Language Program — “Our school division offers K-5 Spanish-English dual language programs at John Adams and Mount Vernon Community School… Look around these classrooms and you see the diversity that makes ACPS so special, and a program at work that teaches languages while also bridging gaps by the sharing of cultures.” [ACPS]
Alexandria Declares Climate Emergency — “On October 22, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring a climate emergency, recognizing that climate change poses a grave threat to everyone in Alexandria and around the world.” [City of Alexandria]
City Council Passes Refugee Resolution — “The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a resolution to notify the federal government of its continued support for resettling refugees in Alexandria. The action was taken in response to Executive Order 13888, issued on September 26, which provides that the federal government ‘should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees.'” [City of Alexandria]
Next Weekend: Event for Little Historians — “Bring your little learners to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore… All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3-5 years old.” [City of Alexandria]
Nearby: Belle View Fire Costs Millions — “Monday morning’s six-alarm fire at the Belle View Shopping Center began in the kitchen of one of the businesses in the center, the Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department said in a Tuesday press release… The fire caused more than $5.8 million in damages.” [Covering the Corridor, Fairfax County Fire]
T.C. Grad Sets Sprinting Record — “T.C. Williams High School graduate and adidas professional athlete Noah Lyles is your new IAAF World Athletics champion at 200 meters. His winning time in Doha, Qatar, was 19.83 seconds, with a reaction time of 0.168 seconds.” [MileStat]
5G Antenna Applications Streaming In — “#AlexandriaVA received 50 applications for small cell wireless facilities this year. Green dots on this map show the 43 applications that were approved. Ten were in the historic district, and the Board of Architectural Review approved three applications.” [Michael Pope/Twitter]
Port City Goes Czech — “We had a wonderful evening @CzechEmbassyDC with @evanrail, we goulashed, we picked sausaged and we pilsnered four ways: @Pilsner_Urquell on draught and in bottle, Czechvar and @PortCityBrew Bohemian Pilsner brewed with Czech hops.” [DC Beer/Twitter]
New Headstone for Former Fire Chief — “For over 100 years, Alexandria Fire Chief George Pettey lay in an unmarked grave in Bethel Cemetery, located on Wilkes Street in Old Town. But that changed August 30, when a headstone was dedicated to Chief Pettey, who died April 15, 1911 while carrying out his firefighting duties.” [Zebra]
Video: Salvadoran Refugees and ACPS — “On the morning of December 24, 1980, 12-year-old Ana Bonilla-Galdamez boarded an airplane from El Salvador for the US, fleeing the terrors of civil war… In the 1980s, nearly 5,000 people from just one Salvadoran village, Chirilagua, settled in Arlandria. Ana now works for ACPS as a Family Engagement Specialist at T.C. Williams.” [ACPS]
Note on What We Cover — You might notice that we do things a bit different here on ALXnow. In addition to our local government and community coverage, we focus a bit more closely on businesses opening and closing, with periodic updates on businesses that are of particular local interest. Also, you can expect us to do more breaking news coverage, from fires to crashes to significant police incidents. Two things we won’t do much of: general obituaries or school sports coverage, except when something is really big news locally.
ALXnow Launches Today — This is the first post on the first day of ALXnow. Our goal is to bring Alexandria timely, relevant and useful local news coverage that uncovers unreported stories and drives community conversations. We hope you like it.
About the Morning Notes — Morning Notes posts like this one will be published on most weekday mornings and will highlight notable social media posts, press releases and the reporting of other news outlets. Most posts will be shorter than this one — we’re catching up! Each Morning Notes post will also feature a photo from around town, often from our staff photographer, Jay Westcott. You can submit photos for possible publication too: email us at [email protected] or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
All ACPS Schools Meet State Benchmark — “All schools within Alexandria City Public Schools are fully accredited for the 2019-20 academic year for the first time in 20 years. On Monday morning the Virginia Department of Education announced the results that all ACPS schools met the state benchmark for the first time since the accreditation system first began in 1999.” [ACPS]
Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud — “An Alexandria bank branch manager pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $500,000 from older customers after gaining their trust to personally handle their transactions. Fetehi Mohammed, a manager since 2015 at the Wells Fargo Bank branch near the intersection of Quaker Lane and King Street, reviewed which customers had enough money that his unauthorized withdrawals would not attract notice.” [Washington Post]
Proposed Shelter for Migrant Kids Nixed — “Plans for a facility to house unaccompanied migrant children in Northern Virginia have been scrapped after pushback from local leaders and community members. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted an email he received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirming that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was no longer considering Northern Virginia as a potential site for an unaccompanied migrant children shelter.” [WTOP]
Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — “Alexandria police have a subject is in custody for robbing an Alexandria bank. The robbery happened at the 300 block of South Van Dorn street at around 11:15 AM on Saturday. Alexandria police arrived on the scene and made an arrest.” [Twitter, WDVM]
Hank’s Pasta Bar Closes — “Hank’s Pasta Bar closed Wednesday after 3 years in business. The restaurant, at 600 Montgomery Street in Old Town North, closed to make room for a new Italian restaurant that will open later this year.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Meeting Today About Proposed Noise Law Changes — “[Alexandria] is planning major revisions to its Noise Control Code, and it is asking the community to weigh in on proposed changes to the ordinance. Changes to the code, which was first adopted more than 55 years ago in 1963, include expanded wording in the animals section, which sets specific limits on barks, howls, bays, meows, squawks, quacks or other sounds between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.” [WTOP]
Joint Arlington and Alexandria Meeting Tonight — “Building on the two localities’ collaborative success in recruiting unprecedented new investments in National Landing, the Alexandria City Council and the Arlington County Board will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday, October 1, to discuss the development of a formal framework to continue working together on key policy issues that support inclusive growth.” [City of Alexandria]