Fairfax County and Fairfax City this week announced a final truce in their long feud as the county gave preliminary approval to a new contract for services it provides to the city.
Most of the Fairfax County supervisors attributed the successful settling of the contract, which had taken a year and a half to negotiate, to the "reasonable" attitudes of the city's new council members who were elected in May.
The major bone of contention between the two jurisidictions - how much the city should pay the county for operating schools - was resolved in July with agreement on a $8.3 million contract. The resolution of the schools issue smoothed the way for settling a much smaller contract of $1.3 million for other county-provided services.
Fairfax City voters in May elected a new major and three new members to the seven-member Fairfax City council who campaigned on the issue of resolving city-county differences.
Contract negotiations had struggled along for 18 months under the old council until they reached critical proportions in early spring, when the city set up its own fire department, previously operated by the county, and threatened to set up its own schools system.
The new contract, that totals about $9.6 million, still must be formally signed by both jurisdictions. Fairfax City is expected to approve it Oct. 10.
Negotiating teams from the city and county school boards, the board of supervisors and the new city council, had resolved the schools question by agreeing that the city would pay the county $216.812 more this year for operating six schools that serve about 4,000 Fairfax City pupils. They also agreed to drop all previous claims against each other regarding schools services.
The city and county negotiating teams agreed this week that city would pay about $1.3 million for a variety of county-provided municipal services, including the courts, sheriff's office, libraries, sewage treatment and social welfare and health functions.
The bill represents a $300,000 increase over the city's old payment for municipal services.
The new contract also establishes a sharing of fire and rescue services under which a city or county fire department closest to an emergency would respond without charging the other.
In another unanimous vote, the supervisors decided to continue the life of the negotiating teams to regularly discuss "concerns of mutual interest" to both jurisdictions.