The Alexandria City Council has approved the first residential facility for battered women in the city and has begun consideration of the second fare increase for city taxicab drivers in six months.
The council, at its meeting last Saturday, also went into executive session to discuss a possible pay increase for City Manager Douglas Harman.
The facility for women who are victims of domestic violence -- the second in Northern Virginia -- will be in the Rosemont neighborhood, the first time a residential social services home has been located there. Most such Alexandria facilities are in the adjoining Del Ray neighborhood.
The facility is scheduled to open March 1.
Ann Brickson, director of the Battered Woman's Support Project, said the rented house can accommodate nine people a night, including children and a staff member. Brickson said that last year the project aided 119 women, referring them to temporary residential quarters elsewhere in the city or paying for them to stay in nearby motels.
Brickson asked that the address of the house not be released, fearing that an angry husband might try to remove a spouse from the facility.
Twelve Rosemont residents and civic activists spoke in favor of the project, and one resident opposed it. The council approved the special-use permit by a 6-to-0 vote; council member Carlyle C. Ring Jr. was absent.
Residential facilities for battered women currently exist in Fairfax County, the District and suburban Maryland.
The council also took under consideration several proposals by local taxicab companies calling for rate increases.The last increase was granted in June. That increase, the first in two years, gave drivers a 50 percent increase in the amount of the initial meter "drop," raising the rate from 60 cents for the first one-eighth of a mile to 90 cents.
Under a proposal made by the Yellow Cab Company and backed by the city's Parking and Planning Board, the cost of the first mile of a ride would increase from $1.60 to $1.70. The cost for an additional mile would increase from 80 cents to 90 cents.
Under a separate proposal by the Alexandria Cab Association, the rate for the first mile would double, from 90 cents to $1.80. The charge for a waiting fee would also increase from $8 to $12 an hour.
Last month the Park and Planning Board backed the fare increases, citing increased fuel costs as justification, according to board chairman Earnest P. Martone.
The council also discussed, during an executive session, the subject of city manager Harman's annual review. Harman's salary is $55,000 a year.
Before the session, several disgruntled Alexandrians turned in petitions containing the names of more than three dozen city residents opposed to any salary increase for Harman. Most of the petitioners live in Old Town Alexandria, where the lingering questions of how to deal with the Torpedo Plant complex, the city's historic waterfront and alleged "rowdyism" on lower King Street have drawn criticism from residents.
No date has been set to consider a salary increase for Harman.