Monday, February 23, 2009

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Discontinues Discussion on Purchase of Gatehouse 2

At it's meeting this morning, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion that would discontinue discussion on the acquisition of Gatehouse II, a building that was going to cost $100 million and would house many administrators for the Fairfax County School System. While putting forward the motion, Chairman Sharon Bulova argued that the savings proposed from moving personnel to the building were going to be extremely minimal and the county shouldn't be spending so much money on the project while the county -- and the country in general -- is facing a financial crisis.

Supervisor Jeff McKay also pointed out that one of the major concerns he had with the project was that the public did not receive enough opportunities to weigh in on it as the discussion regarding the project was primarily conducted in closed door sessions. He said that if the project were to be considered again in the future, there must be more opportunity for the public to take part in the discussion during public hearings.

What is really at the heart of the public opposition to the purchase of Gatehouse II was the fact that it was potentially taking away from money that the county could be spending on other very important projects. Supervisor John Foust, for instance, pointed out that there are many schools that are overcrowded while many others also need renovation. The fact that he mentioned overcrowded schools is very timely since I spent several hours last week at a school board meeting where they were primarily discussing how to redistrict schools that were extremely overcrowded. In other words, there is a definite need to build more schools in Fairfax County which is something that should be done before constructing an administrative building that isn't absolutely necessary.

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