Twenty-Four Months of Multiple Deferrals, Finger Pointing and Bond Payments
An Inept Process the Result of Collective Hubris and and Arrogance
First in a Series of Three Articles
By Ira Kaylin
Kaylin is a former Member of the City Council and Co-Chair of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee and Chair of the Economic Development Committee.
The financial and student losses generated by School Board’s mismanagement of the Mt. Daniel project, and an ineffective City Council response, continues to mount.
The School Board continues to dissemble and misdirect, taking no responsibility for its mismanagement of the project. This must end if we are ever to successfully complete the Mt. Daniel expansion for our kids.
City management has not been included in any of the discussion with the Fairfax Planning Commission—a circumstance that seems to be “okay” with our management staff. Nevertheless, the passive stance of management allows for the possibility that new mistakes could be made leaving the City, and the children that are to be served by Mt. Daniel—in an even more precarious position.
Fiscal Impact of the Deferral
The request for a delay ensures that Mt. Daniel students will remain in an inadequate facility for at least another year and guarantees 2 years of increased costs.
With this latest deferral we will have accumulated approximately two years of debt service payments of approximately $675,000 per year or about $1.3 million for the two years.
Other Fiscal Factors Include
- A revised project will need to be redesigned and perhaps rebid. The cost is not yet public but could be high.
- Significant legal expenses have already occurred and can be expected to increase.
- If the school size reduction is accepted by Fairfax how much will it cost to find alternative facilities for the 100 displaced students and where would they attend class?
Before the First Brick Is Laid
All of these costs will be borne by all residents of Falls Church and most will occur before the first brick is laid.
The sum total of these costs will have to be made up. Does the City plan to issue a new bond whose cost could be $2 million or more? Does the City plan to pay out of current operating costs which could lead to an automatic increase of 5 cents on the tax rate?
We, the citizens of Falls Church have been excluded from any substantive information that would inform us of what lies ahead. Moreover if City Hall Management is kept out of the information loop can any meaningful planning take place?
Next: The Bond Referendum–A Rush to Judgement with Perils Raised in Advance