Sharon Bulova: Fairfax's future threatened by spending cuts

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Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland,Fairfax County

Fairfax County Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova on Wednesday called for more redevelopment in the county, but warned residents that many of the goals the county is trying to achieve could be delayed if Congress allows massive spending cuts to take effect March 1.

In her annual State of the County address, Bulova said federal lawmakers were acting irresponsibly by not working more aggressively to prevent across-the-board spending cuts that could devastate the local economy. The inability of Congress and the White House to reach a deficit-reduction deal and avert the so-called "sequestration" cuts have already set back the county's economic recovery, she said.

"The corporate community is poised to emerge from recession," Bulova said. "But just the threat of sequestration is causing a delay in any kind of recovery."

In response, the county will work to further diversify the local economy by luring companies less reliant on government spending, Bulova said, noting as an example the 2009 opening of Hilton Worldwide's global headquarters in Tysons Corner.

Bulova touted the board's work there and said she expects Tysons to be a vibrant downtown area with a residential population of 100,000, up from 17,000 today, and a workforce of 200,000 by 2050.

Tysons and much of the northern part of the county are expected to grow with the addition of Metro's Silver Line, portions of which are expected to open by the end of the year, she said.

Bulova also touted redevelopment projects in Lorton, Springfield and Merrifield as some of the board's most notable redevelopment decisions last year.

"While we are not yet out of the woods from the impacts of the recession, clearly we're on the right track," she said. "Fairfax County's future is in redevelopment."

In a separate address, Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, pointed to the board's work to remove illegal road signs and fight against the Environmental Protection Agency's "big overstep" in trying to regulate the flow of county waterways.

Herrity, however, spoke out against the board's actions in Tysons. He said was disappointed that the board decided to tax residents in the area for road improvements rather than ask businesses to offer more money.

He also questioned the board's decision to reject a request to loosen county rules for in-home day care operators that would have allowed caretakers to accept up to 10 children instead of seven.

"We're chasing child care providers out of existence," Herrity said.

Both Herrity and Bulova warned of reduced spending in Fairfax County next year, which officials will detail on Tuesday when County Executive Ed Long unveils the fiscal 2014 budget.

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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Taylor Holland

Staff writer
The Washington Examiner