In a five-hour session last week, the Alexandria City Council dealt with housing, airplane noise, pay plans, massage parlors, taxicabs, social services and streets.
The meeting, the Council's last regular session until September, was described by Mayor Frank E. Mann as a "doubleheader World Series." The docket included more than 100 items, many of them issues the Council has been working on for many months.
Last May, the mayor proposed that the city investigate whether it can legally and financially set up its own public housing program to provide subsidies only for Alexandrians who have lived in the city at least five or ten years. The Council last week adopted City Manager Douglas Harman's recommendations on the mayor's proposal.
The recommendations included asking the city staff to see if direct grant subsidies are available for elderly residents, asking that Alexandrians be informed about the city's housing programs and encouraged to participate, requesting a report on legal issues associated with residency requirements in housing programs and the needs of the elderly by fall.
Harman told the Council that a program to construct or lease units for locally run housing would require a "very large" amount of money and that such a program should "not be pursued."
The Council also took an official position on the National Airport Noise Study by agreeing to send a letter to the Council of Governments requesting the FAA and airport services to reduce the number of flights into and out of National by 50 per cent.
Council members opposed alternative flight areas allowing planes to begin turning close to the airport, favoring instead a turning point beyond Mount Vernon. The Council's next move was to approve a mutual and agreement with the National Airport Fire Department which would provide assistance for city firemen during emergencies.
The two actions concerning National Airport prompted Mayor Mann to quip. "We tell them to get out of our hair in (item number) 26 and in (item number) 27 we tell them to get back in."
The Council voted to use $16,390 in general revenue sharing funds for a family services program for the Shirley Duke and Regina apartment complexes area, $5,000 for a day care center in Cameron Valley, $8,000 for a halfway house for the emotionally disadvantaged, $25,000 for a tourist film, and $70,000 for computer assistance in the real estate assessment program. The Council rejected a request of $16,430 for a program for exoffenders.
Vice Mayor Nora Lamborne had asked the Council earlier this year to consider raising the funding of the Aid to Dependent Children welfare program from 90 to 95 per cent of need. Last week, the Council rejected her motion to raise the level of funding immediately and instead voted to defer the issue until September.
In other action last week, the Council:
Rejected a controversial classfication and pay plan for city employees. City Manager Harman said the new plan will not be brought before the Council again, though the staff had worked on the proposal for two years and had paid $26,500 for a consultant's help. Councilwoman Beverly Beidler, who voted against the new plan, said she did so because she studied the jobs that would have been downgraded under the new plan and many of them were "traditional women's jobs and only a few were typical men's jobs."
Voted to make St. Asaph and Columbus Streets two-way streets as recommended by the traffic and parking board. The city manager's staff had recommended against changing the one-way streets.
Requested a meeting with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Patricia R. Harris, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Alexandria congressional delegation. Council members were displeased with HUD's reversed stand on a 1974 agreement, which provided for the demolition of 74 old public housing units in Cameron Valley in exchange for the construction of a public housing highrise for the elderly.
The elderly highrise is under construction, but HUD told ARHA executive director Harland K. Heumann last winter that the city cannot demolish the old units in Cameron Valley. The Council was only recently informed by Heumann that the request to demolish the units had been denied.
Heumann told the city manager he failed to notify the Council because he considered the issue unresolved and felt he could work it out, an action which city manager Harman severely criticized.
Passed, 4 to 2, a massage parlor ordinance which bans massages by persons of the opposite sex and sets strict licensing procedures. A day after the ordinance was approved, an Alexandria circuit court judge ruled that the ban cannot be enforced until July 29 unless a federal court judge, who has under consideration a suit filed against similar ordinances in Falls Church and Norfolk, rules on the issue.
Approved the construction of a skateboard park on South Wheeler Avenue at South Early Street. The National Construction Company requested the building of the park.
Voted to inform HUD that the city is interested in participating in the Section 8 subsidy program.
Raised city taxicab fares by a dime a mile and raised the charge of additional passengers to a quarter for children from 6 to 12 years old and 50 cents for passengers over 13, effective Aug. 1.
Passed a resolution limiting the terms of members of city boards and commissions to two consecutive terms.