EPA will not appeal federal stormwater runoff ruling

The Environmental Protection Agency told Virginia officials on March 4 that it will not appeal a federal district court ruling that affects management of stormwater runoff in the Accotink Creek watershed. Fairfax County had joined the state in the lawsuit.

The legal victory will save taxpayers about $300 million, according to the office of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).

U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ruled that the EPA could regulate pollutants such as sediment within stormwater but could not regulate water as a pollutant.

The dispute was not about whether the county should improve and restore Accotink Creek, but how the county could go about improving the watershed, Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said.

“This decision and the EPA’s explanation for not appealing are strong validations of Fairfax County’s sound and successful strategy for addressing our clean water goals,” Bulova said in a released statement. “Fairfax County remains committed to improving the health of the Accotink Creek as well as other tributaries of the Potomac and Chesapeake in the county.”

Supervisors limit potential increase in real estate tax rate

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors took a first step in shaping the county’s fiscal 2014 budget last week by voting to limit the potential real estate tax increase.

The real estate tax rate cannot increase by more than 2 cents per $100 of assessed value when the board adopts the budget next month. The board can set a lower rate.

The combination of the proposed tax-rate hike and rising real estate values means county homeowners could see an average increase in their tax bills of up to $262.

Supervisors who supported advertising the maximum 2-cent increase said it gives them flexibility to adjust County Executive Edward L. Long Jr.’s proposed budget while keeping taxpayers’ pocketbooks in mind.

Long designed his proposed budget around a 2-cent increase in the real estate tax rate. That would bring the rate to $1.095 per $100 of assessed value.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a dozen budget-related town hall meetings by April 6. For a schedule, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov.

The fiscal 2014 budget is scheduled to be adopted late next month.

Inova Fair Oaks is named a Truven Health Top 100 hospital

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, a health-care services provider.

The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals study evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality; medical complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; post-discharge mortality; and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure and pneumonia.

— Fairfax County Times