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Monday, October 26, 2015

Public safety and school bonds on the Nov. 3 ballot

Edsall Road Fire Station [Google Maps]
A public safety bond issue on the ballot Nov. 3 would allow Fairfax County to borrow up to $151 million for police and fire department facilities throughout the county, including two projects serving the Annandale area – a new larger building for the Franconia Police District and an expanded Edsall Road Fire Station.

There’s also a $310 million school bond on the ballot. The only Annandale/Mason area school project funded by that bond is Annandale Terrace Elementary School, which is 50 years old and would get $975,427 for renovation planning.

The school bond includes $13.6 million for construction of a new elementary school in the Sully District, $13.4 million for an addition at South Lakes High School, $89 million for renovations at West Springfield High School, $99 million for renovations at Herndon High School, renovation planning at two middle schools (Hughes and Cooper), and renovation projects at nine elementary schools.

Falls Church High School, which is in need of renovation but falls far down on the FCPS “renovation queue,” isn’t covered in this bond issue.  

Here’s a summary of the projects supported by the public safety bond:
  • $30 million for a combination animal shelter/police station to serve the growing South County area. The additional police station will allow the Fairfax County Police Department to organize smaller patrol areas and decrease response times throughout the county. The new animal shelter will offer pet adoptions, rabies clinics, spay and neuter services, and wildlife education.
  • $13 million for a new police helipad. The existing helicopter hangars are two small and the sloped landing pad is unsafe in the winter.
  • $24 million for an operations support bureau. The existing facility, located within a former elementary school in the Annandale area, is too small. It houses SWAT, K-9, bomb squad, traffic control, and other functions.
  • $10 million for a new building for the Emergency Vehicle Operations Center and K-9 training center.
  • $23 million for a new Franconia District Police Station. The current building, which also houses the Lee District supervisor’s office and Franconia Museum, was built in 1992, but “has exceeded its intended life cycle and requires extensive renovations to meet current operational needs,” states an information sheet issued by the Board of Supervisors.
  • $10 million to expand the Edsall Road Fire Station, which serves the Annandale and Springfield areas. The station’s two and a-half apparatus bays are undersized, female living facilities are inadequate, and additional space is needed to conduct operations management and support functions.
  • The bond also includes renovation/expansion projects for the Merrifield, Penn Daw, Woodlawn, and Reston fire stations.


  1. This stands out to me as a parent:
    "$24 million for an operations support bureau. The existing facility, located within a former elementary school in the Annandale area, is too small."

    Know what else is too small? The over 96% of Fairfax County elementary schools that use sometime inadequate crowded trailers as classrooms. Having spent quite a bit of time in some of these "classrooms", I am always shocked that this learning environment passes as acceptable.

    I absolutely want our public safety officers to be able to do their jobs well, but I'm truly torn between "hmm, new, bigger offices for the police or another year of trailer class-learning for my kids?" I wish these bonds were less all or nothing when it comes to identifying priorities and who is most deserving of updated facilities.

  2. The reason you'll never see anything other than "all or nothing" bond proposals every election is because 70% of voters approve them. So, there's plenty of incentive to include everything but the kitchen sink in each proposal. That's why politicians love them. They're an easy almost invisible way to buy the loyalty of various constituencies. Most politicians don't even acknowledge them as a prime reason property tax bills are escalating.

  3. Sad that there is nothing in actionable bond money going to Mason District schools. Just under 1/300th of the pot will go to "planning" for one of our elementary schools.

    We are the most crowded district, have the most trailers, yet we get the least amount of help in the bond.

  4. 21,000 student in Fairfax schools receive their full time education in TRAILERS! It is time for some "adult" offices to be housed in trailers!

  5. Looking 10-15 years out, while we will still be paying for the debt on these bonds; we may be driven around in automated cars that will not have accidents and moving violations. So will there a be need for such large police force that cant fit in little buildings. Can't we just put them in trailers like the county does with out kids?
    And did the helicopters get larger that they can't fit on the current helipad? New police station, maybe we should just lease a building for 20years.
    Just say no to bonds. I think the county spends the money on things the voters would not approve and then asks for bonds for things the voters want.

  6. I see nothing here that would stimulate our economy and encourage business to grow and make good jobs for Mason District. I vote for just the animal shelter. The rest of the money should go towards building the Trump Wall. It will be a huge success.

  7. Bonds are taxes! wake up

    1. Thank you. I have been saying this all along, us tax payers are being taken to the cleaners.
      Can't find money for schools, but yet they found $30mil in a sock drawer for Lorton Arts without a public vote.

  8. Let's see . . . Mollie says "no" to bonds for public safety. She says no to EDA bonds which help non-profits and manufacturing companies access tax free bonds which PROVIDE JOBS. She says no to immigrants (too bad she won't make her previous Facebook postings public like her lackies have submitted FOIA requests for Supervisor Gross's e-mails.)

    Transparent? Hardly. Why don't you re-open the Facebook account you conveniently deleted in March?

    Mollie, what are you really going to do to spur growth since you don't appear to be for development nor beneficial financing?

    Is your answer really to tell the Annandale business they better clean up their curbs or else? Really?

    And by the way, the Mason Land Use committee which you tout as one of your pet projects is the brainchild of Penny for the express purpose of giving neighborhoods a voice. And if you think increasing that Committee to have neighborhood appointed members is going to make things go better . . . well, you have truly shown us how removed from your senses you really are.

    Mollie, you are so out of your league.

    How are you going to pay for your new Willston school? And if you are a big proponent of "leasing" then how can you in the same breath say that the Bailey's Upper School is a bad idea. That was EXCELLENT real estate management by the county: less cost to the taxpayer, state-of-the-art classrooms, and delivered in less than a year.

    You will still be complaining about the Willston School to your MDC lackies five years from now!

    Mollie - the candidate of no growth, no ideas, and no substance.