As a result of an extensive public hearing early this summer on the problems of the handicapped, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved this week several measures designed to improve the quality of life for handicapped county residents.
The board voted to establish a nine-member commission for the handicapped. Among the commission's duties will be to monitor county compliance with federal legislation regarding the handicapped.
The board also decided to hire one person as a full-time staff member for the commission, to be paid $18,750 a year, appropriated $5,350 to modify some county buildings so they will be accessible to the handicapped, and set up a timetable to complete similar modifications to all county buildings.
The question of whether to hire the staff member proved a controversial item, but a motion opposing the creation of such a position was defeated 7 to 2.
"If we eliminate this position, then we are gutting the whole program," said Supervisor James M. Scott (D-Providence). "We promised we would fund staff supply for the commission."
" [WORD ILLEGIBLE] continually set up boards and commissions, and we expect the same few people in the county executive's office to deal with them," added Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield), agreeing with Scott. "Well, it just won't work that way."
The commission is expected to be a form for all issues concerning the handicapped, to act as a liaison between public and private groups serving the handicapped and to advise the supervisors on questions regarding the handicapped.
The $5,350 appropriated to modify county buildings will be used to install curb cuts and parking spaces at several facilities including the county animal shelter, Drew Smith School, James Lee Center, Juvenile Court, the Franconia Governmental Center and the police administration building in Fairfax City.
About $8,000 already has been appropriated for similar modifications at 10 other county buildings. Work at six of those buildings has been completed.
All the modifications are expected to be completed during 1979, although plans have not been completed for modifications at four other county buildings - the Braddock Community Center, Groveton Governmental Center, the central library in Fairfax City and Fairfax House.
Interior modifications of all the buildings are expected to be completed by 1980, in order to meet a federal deadline for such changes.
The timetable adopted by the supervisors calls for establishing a list of priority improvement projects by the end of September. The list is expected to be presented to the board in October, when the board will be asked to authorize the hiring of an architectural and engineering consultant to determine the cost of the building changes.
The cost estimate is expected to be available by January, and work on the building interiors is expected to begin in September 1979.