Dear Village Neighbor / Friend,
Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll run this out a day early this week to free up time for family. I hope all can enjoy friends, family and good food tomorrow.
Yard Waste Collection – taken from the agreement most of us signed with Republic Trash Services. “It is our goal to pick-up what is set out for collection, but during peaks in yard waste production, we may choose to limit collection to 10 biodegradable paper bags, plastic bags, averaged sized containers, or bundles per pick-up day. We are not a tree removal service. Brush and limbs must be less than 6 inches in diameter, cut into 4-foot lengths or less, bundled with rope or twine and cannot exceed 50 pounds. Yard waste or bundles that do not meet these set-out requirements will not be collected. All unbundled brush will be considered a special pick-up. Please call our office or visit our website in advance to schedule your pickup of these items. The minimum charge for a special pickup is $85.00.”
Adjusting to New Recycling Realities - The worldwide recycling market has changed dramatically in recent months. In Fairfax County, materials collected in curbside recycling program are transported to third-party sorting centers. Fairfax County pays the sorting centers a fixed processing fee plus the cost to dispose of non-recyclables. Recycling program costs have risen significantly for Fairfax County to $80,000 per month. Fairfax County’s third-party recycling processor says nearly 30 percent of material received is actually trash. The cost to process/sort that 30 percent is greater than the cost to dispose of it if it is collected as trash.
Until recently, the ultimate destination for much of our processed recyclables was China’s manufacturing industry. China has enacted stricter standards on imported recyclables and is accepting only a fraction of the volume of what it had in the past. And then the problem comes back to us for storage, use or disposal of unwanted recyclables.
To do our part in this worldwide process, each of us need to reduce the amount of contaminated materials placed in recycling bins. There are five ways you can help stop the practice of “wishful recycling” – placing items in the recycling bin because you think they may actually be recycled.
- Only place empty, clean, dry, loose items in your bin.
- Never put plastic bags, shredded paper, tanglers (hoses/hangers/cords), Styrofoam containers or dirty diapers in your recycling bin:
- Purchase products made with high recycled content.
- When in doubt, throw it out as trash.
- Make an effort to reduce the amount of waste you create — reuse what you can.
Noise Complaints – apparently the barking dog problem is more widespread than I thought. I know the street beast who lives with us loves to communicate with any dogs she can hear and that is acceptable, but not during quiet hours. Quiet hours are from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM. During those hours, we all should want to regulate noise that might disturb our neighbors. Taken from the ordinance “noise that is plainly audible in any other person’s residence with doors and windows closed and the source of sound generation is discernible regardless of whether such doors or windows are closed. This includes animal noises to include barking dogs.
The ordinance also prohibits animal noise between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM when the animal noise is plainly audible and discernible across property boundaries or through partitions common to residential dwellings and such sound can be heard for more than 5 consecutive or nonconsecutive minutes in any 10 minute period. Animal sounds that can be heard for less than 5 consecutive or non-consecutive minutes in any 10 minute period shall not be subject to the Noise Ordinance.
Take a look at the ordinance summation at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-zoning/sites/planning-zoning/files/assets/documents/zoning%20ordinance/noise%20amendment/soundsummarychart11-17-15.pdf.
School Bus Safety - It’s Never OK - to pass a stopped school bus with flashing red lights while children are getting on or off the bus. The rules are pretty simple, when you encounter a school bus with flashing red lights - drivers must stop in both directions, unless separated from the bus by a median and then only those driving in the same lanes as the bus have to stop. It should go without much discussion, but do not speed through a school zone or ignore a crossing guard’s directions. Add more time into your commuting schedule so you’re not in a rush.
Fairfax County Retirement and Pension Plan - Currently, county employees that begin employment with the County right out of school can retire as early as age 55 with a full pension benefit that is higher than those of surrounding jurisdictions. On top of that pension benefit they get a benefit unheard of today - a pre social security supplement - as early as age 55. The pre social security supplement is an additional county paid supplement that equals the social security payment they would have received if they were 67. Unlike real social security payments that increase with cost of living (less than 1% last year), this county paid benefit increases at a guaranteed 3%.
The proposed changes are summarized below:
- Increasing the Minimum Retirement Age from 55 to 60
- Increasing the Rule of 85 to the Rule of 90 - age plus years of service will need to be 90 for full retirement for general county employees
- Eliminating the Pre Social Security Supplement - basically county paid social security at retirement until social security age
- Increasing the Salary Averaging Period from 3 years to 5 years
- Eliminate the Provision that automatically increases the retirement annuity by 3% annually
Jay Lin (Barnack) attended the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting last night. They discussed the proposal cited above that Jay thinks would affect our community. Jay writes:
“They are proposing a reduction in the retirement benefits for all future first responders, leading to two kinds of Fairfax employees. This is bad, it would create a division between the new police, fire and paramedics to the current personnel. I fear that good quality applicants will not be attracted to Fairfax County and go to other places such as growing Loudoun and Prince William County.
I encourage all to call our Supervisor Pat Herrity (703/451-8873 and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org) to vote against this proposal on December 4th. Our police, fire & EMS are first class and I would hate to see that diminish. Many people are attracted to Fairfax County because of our schools, police, fire & EMS. I hope to keep it that way, but I fear this proposal will not”.
Holiday Decorating Contest – Good news, Tim Royster has agreed to chair this event. Expect more in subsequent enews with instructions, when to judge and how to report your findings. We’ll need a lot more judges, especially families.
Upcoming Village Events: December 22 – Christmas Caroling & Village Christmas Party – open to all, even those who can’t sing. Holiday Decorations judging dates will be announced soon.
Military Hero Statues – Kathy Ciro (Ontario) was instrumental in the military hero statues that were unveiled on Memorial Day at the National Harbor to honor military service. Kathy said they had a good turnout and the military folks in attendance seemed very pleased. My daughter USCGA 1/C Katrina Cooley reported the gratitude of her shipmates and the U.S. Coast Guard. She was also pleased that the Coastie in the sculpture is a woman. Kathy was involved in this project for over a year working with artists/sculptors in NY and lots of work with the military. She said that they have had overwhelmingly positive responses and that people enjoy having their photos taken with them. Thanks Kathy; look below for photos of each sculpture.
Stay safe! Happy Thanksgiving!