The 2023-2024 Council year got off to a great start at the Annual Meeting on 20 September. Supervisor James Walkinshaw launched the meeting by giving an update on the following major issues in the district and the County as a whole:
Youth mental health/substance abuse crisis and County actions to counter this problem
FY25 Budget challenges (revenue declining due to drop in commercial real estate; rising labor costs, inflation)
Public safety (cited improved police recruitment; Fairfax is the safest jurisdiction of its size in the U.S. in terms of violent crime statistics)
Bicycle/pedestrian safety (school zone speed camera pilot program)
Braddock Road Multi-modal Improvements Project (plan status, VDOT efforts to minimize tree loss)
Lake Accotink future planning (Task Force report due to BOS in December)
Trash collection (American consent agreement; County trash collection option)
Following a Q&A session, the supervisor presented Sarah Lennon (Kings Park West Civic Association) with a plaque in recognition of her contributions as Vice-chair in the relaunch of the Council in 2022-2023.
Barbara Smith (Woodbury Woods) was approved unanimously by the members as Council treasurer. She provided a financial report and discussed the recent audit of the books.
Vice-chair Marie Norman announced that Paul Hartwell (N. Springfield) has agreed to take over the Aging in Place (AIP) program from founder and long-time coordinator, Bruce Wallachy. Paul is finalizing arrangements for a presentation by the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) on Medicare 101. Additional information will be provided on the Council website as well as via the AIP email distribution list when everything is confirmed.
I introduced several items that the Council will take up in the year ahead, including a review of the Bylaws (adopted in 2006), dues, and membership outreach. I would like to focus on the last item. As of the date of the Annual Meeting, paid-up membership comprised the following 15 associations:
Burke Centre Conservancy North Springfield
Canterbury Woods Oak Hill
Country Club View University Square
George Mason Forest Villa
Hickory Farms Willow Woods
Kings Park Woodbury Woods
Kings Park West Civic Association Woodwalk
In the reboot year, we had a total of 24 member associations. The ExComm set a “stretch” goal of 40 associations for this year, so obviously we have some work to do as an organization. First, we need all of last year's members to renew for this year, and then we need to add 16 previously unaffiliated associations to the rolls. I ask all current members to help the Council officers in our outreach efforts by discussing the benefits of membership with acquaintances who live in other communities. Here is our “value proposition” to use in this effort:
The Braddock District Council provides member associations with:
An important communication link between your association and the Braddock District supervisor’s office on common association issues, allowing associations to speak with a unified voice to drive action when needed
A forum for association leaders to come together regularly in order to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for association management
The opportunity to hear guest speakers to provide important information on Fairfax County government operations and legal issues, such as liability insurance and compliance with state laws affecting associations
Additionally, the Council supports:
The Braddock District Supervisor’s community-building, quality-of-life events such as the Braddock Nights Summer Concert Series, the Children’s Arts in the Parks Program, Braddock Bark, Best of Braddock Awards program, and other initiatives as occurring
The Braddock District “Aging in Place” program, a valuable resource to older residents to help them navigate financial, medical, social, and other senior issues.
The ExComm wants the Council to be member-driven. With a larger member base drawn from all areas of the district, we can accomplish much more to meet our chartered goal “to promote the civic, community, and general welfare of the citizens of the Braddock District.”
The Council is required to have four meetings in addition to the Annual Meeting in September. The consensus of the members was that meetings should be every two months. Tentatively, the 2023-2034 schedule will be: (All meetings are on the third Wednesday of the month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Braddock Hall unless otherwise noted)
September 20 Annual Meeting
October TBD Best of Braddock (short business meeting prior to event, TBD)
November 15 Business meeting (possible presentation, TBD)
December 20 Possible social event offsite in connection with meeting
January 17 Business Meeting
March TBD Legislative Review (short business meeting prior to event, TBD)
April 17 Business Meeting
June 19 Business Meeting (BDC elections)
Thus, there will be at least four meetings in addition to the Annual Meeting, with two other meetings possible in connection with other events. February and May are open for meetings, if desired by members. Please send any suggestions for presentations or meeting agenda items to me at email@example.com. Also, let me know if you are interested in serving on the Bylaws revision committee. Finally, please consider nominating one or more members from your association for a Best of Braddock award. Check upcoming editions of the Walkinshaw Advisory and Braddock Beacon for additional information.