Spring has arrived in Arlington County. I hope that, like me, you’ve been enjoying the cherry blossoms, APS Spring Break and the return of outdoor dining around town.
It’s been a busy season for the County Board. Some recent developments from February and March:
Follow FY17 Budget on Facebook: My colleagues and I are in the thick of budget work sessions with each County department – which are, for the first time this year, live-streamed and available on-demand here. But if you’d rather be streaming the new season of House of Cards than our sessions, you can catch slightly-more-digestible tidbits about the budget on Facebook in my “What’s in the (Proposed) Budget” series of posts. Follow along by “liking” www.facebook.com/katiecristolforarlington/.
- Community Budget Hearings Next Week: We’ll also be hearing from the community on March 29th and 31st: Sign up to speak or submit your comments online here.
"Including People with Developmental Disabilities" Month: On March 1st, I had the honor of reading a proclamation and celebrating the opening of two new group homes in our community to house Arlingtonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Throughout the month, I’ve also had the opportunity to visit with some of the exceptional non-profit organizations and governmental departments working hard to integrate Arlingtonians with IDD into housing, jobs and civic life. As one young woman at a Linden Resources employment preparation program told me this week, “I’m just looking for the right fit” in a job for her future.
Regulating and Increasing the Supply of Childcare: Last month, the Board engaged with the County Manager and Department of Human Services in a difficult conversation about a proposed set of childcare regulations that I and others found to be an overreach and excessively prescriptive– particularly at a time when childcare is in such short supply in Arlington. For now, DHS has withdrawn the draft regulations from public comment and will continue conversations with staff, providers and Board members about how we can best balance the need to increase the supply of childcare with the need to ensure safe and enriching childcare environments.
Women’s History Month: I was so glad to join our Board Chair this week in honoring both Women’s History Month and longtime Arlington and Virginia leader Mary Margaret Whipple. If you’re looking for a way to observe Women’s History Month in Virginia, consider following Senator Whipple's lead and getting involved with the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission, a movement to recognize Virginia women's contributions with a beautiful monument on the Capitol grounds in Richmond. Nominate a Virginia woman for inclusion on the monument wall, or consider making a contribution.
Throughout my first quarter as a Board member, I’ve been grateful to the many Arlingtonians who serve our community and engage with my colleagues and me. Thanks for your support, and all you do to keep our County such an exceptional place to call home.