City of Falls Church

The following were among actions taken at the Sept. 24 meeting of the Falls Church City Council. For more information, call 241-5004.

TAX PROTEST -- About a dozen representatives and patrons of Bowl America Falls Church, a bowling alley, asked the City Council in an impromptu public hearing to rescind a new 5-cent "amusement" tax on bowling games because it singles out the sport.

The tax was adopted last spring by the previous City Council, along with a 2-cent "amusement" tax on movies. However, since there are no movie theaters in the city, only patrons of the city's two bowling alleys, Bowl America Falls Church and Falls Church Bowling Center, pay the tax.

Critics of the tax, which is expected to raise about $11,000 this fiscal year, point out that there is no tax on other recreational activities, such as Little League baseball and tennis. More than 250 patrons, most of whom live outside the city, signed a petition or sent form letters to council members protesting the tax.

Vice Mayor Brian O'Connor asked the staff to study the effectiveness of the tax and report back to the council later this year.

Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 24 meeting. For more information, call 246-3151.

TRANSPORTATION HEARING -- The board agreed to tell state officials at a hearing Monday night that more federal transportation funds should be made available to urbanized areas such as Northern Virginia to help ease traffic congestion.

Audrey Moore delivered the board-approved testimony at a hearing held by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the state secretary of transportation, John Milliken, to solicit suggestions from local jurisdictions on changes that should be made in the federal highway program next year.

When established in 1955, the federal highway program focused on developing the interstate highway system, which is now nearly complete. Northern Virginia legislators argue that the formula by which the federal program distributes funding for road projects is out of date because it is based on the length of a road rather than the volume of traffic a road carries.

"We have more cars on our streets and secondary roads than other areas of Virginia have on their interstates," Moore said at the hearing. "Unless we begin to put the money where the cars are, we are missing the point of the exercise."

AFFORDABLE HOUSING -- The board set maximum rents and sales prices for low- to moderate-income houses and apartments that will be available through the county's new affordable-housing program.

To boost the dwindling stock of affordable housing in the county, the board decided last summer to allow developers to build residential developments of 20 percent higher density than normally allowed under current zoning laws in exchange for setting aside 12.5 percent of the units for rent or purchase by residents with low to moderate incomes.

Two-thirds of the affordable-housing units in a development will be set aside for families whose income is no greater than 65 percent of the median income in the Washington metropolitan area; for a four-person household, the income ceiling would be 65 percent of $54,100, or $35,165. In this category, rents will range from $513 a month for an efficiency apartment to $733 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The remaining affordable-housing units will be reserved for families whose income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income, or $27,050 for a family of four. Rents for these units will range from $394 a month for an efficiency apartment to $564 a month for a three-bedroom apartment.

Sales prices for single-family detached houses will vary according to factors such as construction costs and design features. Basically, however, the maximum prices for detached houses will be $49,773 for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit to $74,138 for a five-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

MILITARY LEAVE PAY -- The board amended personnel regulations to allow county employees to donate their annual paid leave time to co-workers in the military reserves or the National Guard who are called up for active duty.

Currently, only two county employees are reservists on active duty. However, the county Office of Personnel has received inquiries from several employees willing to donate paid leave to reservists if the need should arise.

Federal law requires the county to grant employees time off for reserve duty without subsequent loss of position or seniority. County employees are allowed 15 days of military leave per year for military training, and can use annual or compensatory leave time or leave without pay if they are called up for active duty.

Until now, county employees could donate paid leave time only to employees who are forced to take leave without pay for an extended illness.