Featured News

  • 11 Feb 2017 11:29 AM | Phil Pifer

    Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb 21, GFCA's TownHall will focus on review and discussion of the proposed Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools Budgets for Fiscal Year 2018. Supervisor Foust and Schools Board Member Jane Strauss will introduce the proposed budgets. Joe Mondoro, the Chief Financial Officer for Fairfax County, and Kristen Michael, Assistant Superintendent of Finance for FCPS, will explain the budgets and the policy choices reflected in them.

    This year’s budget process has been an extremely difficult one, balancing the needs of our schools and county services and programs. Budget pressures are also resulting from rising Pension costs and historically underfunded county/school employee pension plans. The defeat of the Meals Tax prevented one avenue for raising tax revenues. As of this writing, the budget has not been set however final decisions will be made by the County over the next week.

    This is an opportunity for all to have the budget explained, and to ask questions of the county experts involved. The TownHall meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Library (Meeting Room). GFCA members and the general public are welcome.

  • 06 Feb 2017 8:52 AM | Phil Pifer

    Come to a meeting of concerned Great Falls citizens who are working to improve the deterioration of our streams and woodlands, the erosion and sediment contamination this contributes into the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay, and the destruction of our woodlands that is caused by poor storm water management practices in our County, having disproportionate impact in Great Falls.

    On February 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Falls Library, the Senior Conservation Specialist of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, Willie Wood, will meet with the Storm Water Management Subcommittee of the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) to begin an effort to develop and implement voluntary best practice guidelines for homeowners, HOAs and turf management companies to better manage storm water runoff. This will include environmentally friendly turf management practices and attractive and innovative landscaping measures such as rain gardens.  We see this as an educational initiative.

    The Storm Water Management Subcommittee also intends to select one or more ponds in Great Falls as demonstration projects where the best practice guidelines we develop will be applied to show how we as citizens can improve our own water quality.  The Subcommittee would also like to develop some form of recognition for homeowners and HOAs who embrace these best practices.

    We are also working to study County storm water management practices to seek improvements.  More information on GFCA’s Storm Water Management initiative is on our website (gfca.org).

    Join us at this meeting on February 13 – learn about the storm water problem, and help us kick-start this important effort to improve the quality of the water in our streams and ponds right here in Great Falls.  The meeting is open to the public, and all are welcome.

  • 26 Jan 2017 8:08 AM | Phil Pifer

    On Jan 19, GFCA sent a letter to Supervisor Foust and School Board Member Jane Strauss expressing concerns about the current state and direction of our county pension plans.  This followed a unanimous decision by the GFCA Executive Board to affirm that the current pension system trajectory is unsustainable, that taking no action will lead to serious consequences, and that corrective action is needed starting now - in the Fiscal Year 2018 county/school budgets.

    GFCA believes that serious steps must be taken in some combination of specific steps to:

    • remedy the historical underfunding of pension plans 
    • bring pension benefits in line with 'market'
    • bring pension costs down for county and taxpayers
    • control pension abuse by retirees
    • control expensive contract costs of hiring retirees because their replacements were not properly skilled or trained
    GFCA is concerned that delaying action to future years will only make the outcome worse for all - including employees, retirees, and taxpayers.  Unaddressed, pensions will put increasing pressure on county finances and eventually risk our bond ratings or require large tax increases.

    GFCA's position was the result a recommendation by GFCA's Long Range Planning committee, which is working to understand Fairfax County and School budgets and challenges.  The recommendation was the result of reviewing past budgets and trends, identifying issues such as Pensions, and reviewing public information available - such as from other county civic organizations and newsmedia coverage. On Pensions, LRP also reviewed relevant information shared publicly by staff to the County Budget Task Force.

    The full text of the Pension letter can be found here.
  • 27 Nov 2016 4:23 PM | Phil Pifer

    About 40 years ago, the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road was rebuilt but, due to local pressure, the design was compromised in order to save two mature oak trees on the north-east corner at the Professional Building. The trees lasted for a few decades but are gone now. As a result of the compromised original design, VDOT could not allow a right-turn-on-red lane southbound on Walker nor cross walks from the NE corner.  This was because the mature trees were to the north of the current Shell station and to the east of the 7/11 strip mall. Without proper protected crosswalks, pedestrians have had to dodge traffic in a very unsafe situation.

    GFCA has recently lobbied Supervisor Foust’s office and VDOT to initiate design, funding and construction of a proper intersection so we can have right-turn-on-red going south on Walker Road going west on Georgetown Pike and safe crosswalks to connect all four corners of this major intersection in our town. The GFCA created a sketch and concept plan for this work that has the support of the affected property owners. This proposal was received by Supervisor Foust and GFCA has been informed that this project is at the top of the Supervisor’s list.  GFCA is advocating that it should be funded and built in the 2017 budget cycle.

    With the construction of the TD Bank on the southeast corner (where the old Exxon was) and the recent acquisition of the 7/11 center by a new owner, we hope that a new intersection will contribute to better aesthetics, smoother traffic flow, and safer pedestrian movement through the area.

    See the draft concept plan below ...

  • 12 Oct 2016 7:07 AM | Phil Pifer

    At the GFCA TownHall last night - which featured debates on Meals Tax and Right to Work measures in the November ballot - we distributed statements from three candidates who want to represent us in Congress:  LuAnn Bennett, Barbara Comstock, and JD Thorpe.

    In lieu of a debate between the candidates, GFCA asked them to provide a personal statement, in their own words, to the residents of Great Falls.  There were no formal requirements other than this statement be limited to no more than 600 words.  We made suggestions for topics they might touch on.

    We hoped that by allowing the candidates flexibility, we might learn more about them from what they chose to talk about, and how they did that.  You can download their statements here.

  • 10 Oct 2016 2:40 PM | Phil Pifer

    Before every major election, GFCA holds a TownHall to educate voters on key election issues. On October 11th at 7:30 p.m. (at the Great Falls Grange), GFCA has arranged debates on two major ballot issues this November. The Fairfax County Meals Tax and the Virginia Constitutional Amendment popularly referred to as the “Right to Work” proposal have garnered the most attention beyond the Presidential and Congressional elections. The TownHall program will include:

    • Meals Tax debate: featuring Supervisor Pat Herrity opposing the Meals Tax and Supervisor John Foust supporting it. Having two of the leading Fairfax County Board of Supervisors debate will provide a valuable opportunity to learn about the reality of the issues behind the rhetoric.
    • Right to Work debate: For the proposed Virginia Constitutional Amendment on “Right to Work”, we will feature two distinguished speakers debating the pros and cons. James Young (Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense & Education Foundation for more than 25 years) will make the argument for the amendment. Dan Duncan (President of the Northern VA Central Labor Council) will argue against.
    • Congressional Candidate Statements: GFCA solicited personal statements from LuAnn Bennett (Dem), Barbara Comstock (Rep), and JD Thorpe (Lib) to the citizens of Great Falls about why they are running and why we should support them as our VA-District 10 Representative. Their personalized letters to the citizens of Great Falls will be available at the TownHall.
    • County Spending and Taxation: GFCA is building a fact-base to better understand and evaluate County spending and taxation, and will present a brief tutorial that may be helpful to voters in understanding the arguments surrounding the Meal Tax and bond issues.
    • Educational Materials will be distributed: In addition to the debates, GFCA will have detailed, printed information for voters on the other ballot items – including several county bond issues.

  • 15 Sep 2016 4:29 PM | Pam Grosvenor (Administrator)

    Please join others in the Great Falls community on Saturday morning, September 24th for the rededication of the Civil War Marker commemorating the 1861 Battle of Dranesville. The program will include two historians speaking about the battle, a marker unveiling by Supervisor John Foust, remarks by a representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation, local boy scouts, and re-enactors in Civil War attire. 

    Time: 9:30 AM - Coffee & refreshments; 10:00 AM - Program begins outside (rain or shine)

    Location: Dranesville Church of the Brethren, 11500 Leesburg Pike (next to Seneca Hill Animal Hospital & Spa). For further information, see: Marker Rededication Flier 9-24-16(6).pdf

  • 02 Sep 2016 3:31 PM | Phil Pifer

    GFCA is partnering with an organization called ReLeaf to provide seedling trees to individual homeowners in Great Falls – at no cost to the homeowner. ReLeaf is a private non-profit organization of volunteers formed in 1992 to plant and protect trees in and around Fairfax County, preserve native habitat and educate the public about the benefits of trees. ReLeaf has supplied and planted thousands of trees throughout the County.

    This GFCA program is for individual Great Falls homeowners only, and you do not have to be a member of GFCA (although membership is appreciated to support programs like this!). While the trees are free-of-charge, homeowners must commit to plant all the trees ordered and then maintain them - especially during their first year or two. Seedlings of the following species will be available: Silky Dogwood, Elderberry, Red Chokeberry, Willow Oak, Northern Red Oak, White Oak, and Loblolly Pine.

    You can easily order your seedlings on the GFCA website by clicking here.
    You can also pick up a printed order form at the Great Falls Library from September 12 -23rd.

    Trees ordered will be available for pickup at the library on Saturday Oct. 29 and 30. Orders must be placed by Sept. 23. Directions for planting (directly into the ground) and protection collars will be provided at time of pickup.

The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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