Arlington County Board 2024 Organizational Meeting
Published on January 05, 2024
The Arlington County Board held its annual Organizational Meeting Tuesday evening, electing Libby Garvey as Board Chair and Takis Karantonis as Vice Chair. The Board also approved the meeting schedule and procedures for the year.
"I want to thank my colleagues for their confidence in me and for the opportunity to, again, chair this Board," stated Chair Garvey. "This Board is multi-generational, spanning three generations of Arlingtonians, and will bring different perspectives and strengths to our work."
Chair Garvey has served on the Arlington County Board for 12 years and has chaired the Board twice before. She previously served on the Arlington School Board for 15 years. For 2024, she divides her priorities into two areas of focus: Social Resilience and Energy Resilience.
Chair Garvey announced her "Arlington 2050" initiative, a community dialog and visioning process beginning in early February that will strive to produce two or three general visions of what residents believe Arlington should be in 2050. Garvey cited Arlington's strong whole-of-community values—its social resilience—as the reason it could innovate and meet challenges presented during the 2020 Pandemic. However, she believes meeting future challenges will require developing social resilience, with the first step being to create a clear, shared vision of the future of the County. "If we are clear about where we want to go, we can figure out what we need to do to get there," she said.
Chair Garvey also committed to focusing on the County's energy resilience this year. Her approach will include making County and school buildings more energy-resilient and focusing on how to assist at the individual home level. She states that education and access to small batteries to power key devices such as a cell phone, computers, or a small heating or cooling device could be vital during power outages. "Modern life depends on electricity," Garvey said. "With some good information and some help, I think many of our residents could be energy-resilient if they would like."
County Board members also provided individual remarks on goals and strategies for 2024. Shared priorities include:
- Responding to the County's ongoing office vacancy rate;
- Prioritizing Affordable Housing funding;
- Enhancing Youth and Mental Health services; and
- Working regionally to address Metro's significant funding needs.
Board member Matt de Ferranti remarked that Arlington's tax base and budget are more vulnerable to office vacancies than the any other jurisdiction in NoVA, explaining why the commercial market has such a relatively acute impact on the County's tax revenue due to the work-from-home shift. "We must continue to invest our time and energy in the structural changes we need in our economy. We have an extraordinary workforce, structural advantages, such as Fuse at Mason Square, and Amazon, a strong tourist economy, and being a great place to live," de Ferranti said.
Vice Chair Takis Karantonis stated that housing affordability must remain a top county commitment amid competing fiscal priorities. "I stand for a significant financial commitment to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund," Karantonis said. "I am convinced that a penny and a half of dedicated additional tax support is an appropriate and timely proposition for the next fiscal year."
Board member Susan Cunningham called for community-wide investments in social infrastructure and connections. "We will build on existing programs like sports, arts, Arlington Neighborhood Villages, and the Teen Network Board to enhance youth out-of-school programming, volunteerism, public safety investments, mental health delivery, and our safety net," said Cunningham.
Working regionally to resolve ongoing funding concerns with Metro was another shared priority discussed by Board members. "Transportation is another basic building block of our lives," Board member Maureen Coffey said. "This year, we need to make a commitment to funding our public transit because it is both an economic and environmental imperative."
After its Organizational Meeting, the County Board met with the Civic Federation for a dialog on topics that included Freedom of Information Act requests, Public Health, Expanded Housing Option permits, and Ranked Choice Voting.
Watch the County Board Meeting with the Civic Federation.
The next regular County Board meeting will be on January 20, 2024. Please visit the County Board webpage to learn more about the adopted meeting procedures, Board schedules, agendas, and how to register to speak at a Board meeting.
Watch the 2024 County Board Organizational Meeting or read individual Board member remarks on priorities for the New Year on the County Board webpage.