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Thread: Fairfax executive suggests dropping 'County'

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Fairfax executive suggests dropping 'County'

    From the Washington Post....

    Fairfax Executive Suggests Dropping 'County'


    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    It might not be known for its nightlife or cosmopolitan flair, but Fairfax County Executive Anthony H. Griffin suggested yesterday that it might be time for his urbanizing community to become a full-fledged city.

    Griffin told the Board of Supervisors that city status would allow Fairfax greater autonomy over taxes and transportation. But it would also turn the tables on the nearby capital city: With 1 million residents, a new Fairfax City would dwarf the District of Columbia, which has fewer than 600,000. (Set aside for a moment that the county already surrounds a smaller Fairfax City.)

    "In reality, we do everything a city does aside from maintain the roads," Griffin said. "I think there are substantial arguments to be made for conversion."

    Attaining city status, Griffin said, would require a referendum and approval by the state legislature. The idea has intrigued some supervisors because it would help Fairfax County gain control over its road network. The Virginia Department of Transportation is running out of money for basic maintenance, such as median mowing and road striping, and state lawmakers have deadlocked over how best to provide the money necessary to alleviate congestion in Northern Virginia.

    Fairfax could simply negotiate with state officials to take control of the roads. But by attaining city status, officials would gain greater authority to raise taxes and fees to pay for road maintenance and operations.

    The county explored the possibility of taking over roads in 1990 but rejected it partly on concerns about cost to taxpayers. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), former chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said it would be unwise to revisit the issue during a recession.


    "I think it would be a grave fiscal mistake at this time," Connolly said. "It will cost potentially hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Here's the county executive telling the board that there's another $300 [million] to $350 million hole in the projected budget. This is not the time to be talking about taking on new responsibilities."

    But Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) said it was worth another look. And she said perhaps it is time for Fairfax to lose the "county" label.

    "Fifty, 60 years ago . . . we were one of the largest producers of dairy products," she said. "Now we are a mostly suburban community with some urbanizing areas. The city label more accurately describes what Fairfax is."


    Interesting follow to the Time article about Tysons Corner. VA/DC planners-any thoughts?
    Last edited by Whose Yur Planner; 01 Jul 2009 at 10:09 AM.
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  2. #2
    This is the first I've heard of it. It seems like it would never happen, politically, to convert the entire County to a City. There already is the City of Fairfax and other incorporated Cities and Towns within Fairfax County. What would happen to them?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    deleted....
    Last edited by stroskey; 01 Jul 2009 at 2:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yeah!

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    deleted....
    Post of the week

    Two and a half times greater area than Denver and almost twice the people...

    From Wikipedia:
    Three incorporated towns, Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna, are located entirely within Fairfax County.[47]

    The independent cities of Falls Church and Fairfax were formed out of areas formerly under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County, but are politically separate, despite the status of the City of Fairfax as county seat.

    It has been proposed[48] to convert the entire county into a single independent city, primarily to gain more control over taxes and roads.

    Other communities within Fairfax County are unincorporated areas; Virginia law prohibits the creation of any new municipalities within any county with a population density of over 1,000 per square mile.[citation needed] As of the 2000 census the thirteen largest communities of Fairfax County are all unincorporated CDPs, the largest of which are Burke, Reston, and Annandale, each with a population exceeding 50,000. (The largest incorporated place in the county is the town of Herndon, its fourteenth-largest community.)
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    An interesting idea. I think Fairfax County has a budget bigger than some states. It certainly is highly urbanized, especially around Tysons, the Dulles access road corridor, and along I-95.

    Slightly off topic: In southeastern Virginia the city of Virginia Beach absorbed its entire surrounding county of Princess Anne, as did the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake, so that the entire counties became cities. I think that was done for racist reasons, though (to avoid school busing as I recall).

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    I thought Virginia was one of the states where counties functioned as municipalities, no? Incorporated areas are not considered to be "in" the surrounding county (i.e. cities and counties function completely independent of each other).

    In other words: is changing the name really necessary if the county already has all of the powers that a city has? This may be solely about maintenance of the roads.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    I thought Virginia was one of the states where counties functioned as municipalities, no? Incorporated areas are not considered to be "in" the surrounding county (i.e. cities and counties function completely independent of each other).
    In VA, there are independent cities that are not part of the county and are therefore not under their jurisdiction: e.g., Williamsburg and James City County; the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and surrounding Augusta County. I don't believe that this applies to ALL cities, though.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    This is really interesting. Why doesn't VA want areas to incorporate?

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    This is how Philadelphia City and County merged into one political body. It's seems to be the natural growth of political boundaries for large cities.

    BTW, I have always been curious about how NYC came to be. With all it's boroughs like Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, etc.. Does anyone know?

    On 2 February 1854, the Act of Assembly passed by the Pennsylvania Assembly which called for the Consolidation of the city and county of Philadelphia into one political and geographical unit was approved by the governor of Pennsylvania, William Bigler. This Act extended the term of the mayor from one to two years. Under provisions of the Act of 12 April 1861, the election was changed to the second Tuesday in October, and the term of mayor extended to three years. The term started on the first Monday in January. The first mayor that was elected under the new act was Robert Thomas Conrad.

    http://www.planphilly.com/timeline/waterfront

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    In VA, there are independent cities that are not part of the county and are therefore not under their jurisdiction: e.g., Williamsburg and James City County; the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and surrounding Augusta County. I don't believe that this applies to ALL cities, though.
    Only a handful of cities in the US are independent outside of Virginia, but all cities in the state are independent and towns are incorporated. It's kind of kooky and I haven't been able to figure out why it is this way. I believe most in not all of the cities in Hampton Roads made the transitition from counties to cities decades ago.

    This is going to be very interesting on how they deal with becoming a city. First the name change will be an issue, then the incorporated towns. Would they want to be indepedent cities or be apart of the proposed new city? I haven't heard that they were interesting in doing so, but I'm definately going to follow it.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Another example from the Midwest is

    HEADLINE: Walker again advocates dismantling county government
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/51228407.html

    HIGHLIGHT:
    Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker on Monday renewed his call to blow up county government, suggesting that many functions could be parceled out to the state, municipalities and new entities.

    "Eliminating a layer of government and consolidating it with other governments is an idea whose time has come," Walker said in a letter to the County Board.

    "County government largely overlaps municipal and state government," he wrote. "It can and should be consolidated into other areas."
    Oddball
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    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    I need a bumper sticker that says "Fairfax County Virginia IS SPRAWL"
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    I need a bumper sticker that says "Everything built from 1944-present IS SPRAWL"
    fixed......

  14. #14
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ha ha ha.....

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    fixed......
    Classic, I love the corrected bumper sticker.....
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    That's not a real bumper sticker, is it?

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