From Matt de Ferranti <[email protected]>
Subject Open Scheduling for Vaccines, the Budget, and the April Board Meetings
Date April 29, 2021 4:37 PM
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Dear Friend,

Last night, watching Joe Biden I thought of the stakes at this moment in our history. Will we do enough in 2022 to keep the progress coming? Will redistricting hurt our chances at holding the House of Representatives nationally? Will Raphael Warnock win with the terrible voting law passed in Georgia? All of it led me to some self-reflection: am I doing enough right now to meet the moment before 2022?

So I woke early this morning to share a summary of the work of the past 10 days, my heart beating because of the stakes for Arlington right now. We are each connected in a web of mutuality, so here's my report on what I am doing to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice:

Significant progress in the last 10 days on: (1) on vaccines, residents can now schedule their own vaccine appointments, and (2) we have adopted our budget for the Fiscal Year that starts July 1. Both steps are big ones toward the recovery we all have been waiting for and the one that President Biden spoke about last night in his address to the nation.
[link removed]
Get Vaccinated! We are nearly out of this pandemic, but nearly is not good enough.
The Big Picture on Vaccine Distribution
On vaccine distribution, we took a major step earlier this week: we moved from vaccine supply being our concern, to make every one of our available appointments get filled. Specifically, on Tuesday, I noted that we have administered more than 100,000 doses and we changed the County website to allow for direct scheduling of vaccine appointments.
Read a Vaccine Summary and Schedule your Appointment Directly! ([link removed])
What does this mean in our overall fight against the pandemic? Based on the best available overall data for Arlington from the Virginia Department of Health this morning, more than 45.3% of our overall population has received one dose. More than 28% of our population is fully vaccinated. The estimate of the percentage of those eligible who have been vaccinated is higher than that, since only those 16 and older are currently eligible. I believe we should be using the Virginia Department of Health numbers since we must work to eliminate the disease from Arlington, so we are at 45% and counting toward a goal of above 75% at a minimum to get to herd immunity.

We have also reached a milestone based on the numbers. Arlington's metrics on the disease are heading in a clearly positive direction, but our work is not done. The average case number over the past 7 days is 23. Our percentage of tests that are positive is 4% and over the last two weeks we have had a marked decline in the number of fatalities due to COVID 19 to 3. However, even one fatality is too many and the number of those in hospitals over the last two weeks is up slightly to 68 people.

[link removed]
Watch the COVID Update Conversation

Arlington County's Budget for the Year Starting July 1
The Budget is perhaps the biggest single part of my work as Chair of the Board, so I am proud to share with you that the ideas that led me to seek this office were incorporated in the budget we adopted on Tuesday, April 20th. The Board kept the real estate property tax flat, a decision I believe was the right one in order to meet the many needs of responding to the pandemic and the needs our community prioritizes for investment.

Our budget is fiscally sound, refunding an essential reserve due in part to the stabilization of our local economy since the start of the pandemic and to funding from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed without a single Republican vote in either Chamber of Congress. (The Georgia Senate seats really, really matter.) And, it aligns with the priorities that led me to run for the Board: [link removed]
Short, Two-Pager on Arlington County's Budget for the Year to Come ([link removed])
Budget Priorities
On the specifics of the priorities we share, I am very proud that the Board was able to make progress on almost all fronts as they relate to those most in need, climate change, education, housing, hunger, and economic recovery. I worked my heart out and I promise you and your values were with me at every step of the way. We did not get everything we wanted, but the budget is a very good one.

For the budget guidance that includes many details, go here: [link removed]

For the spreadsheet and the nitty gritty numbers, go here: [link removed]

For a conversation on the budget, go here:
[link removed]
For a 13 minute conversation on the Budget, click above.
1. Housing. Eviction prevention is funded through the $17.5 million COVID contingent. The Affordable Housing Investment Fund was funded at $16.9 million. (There is also another $2.7 for rents for AHIF built properties.) Housing Grants was expanded to help with more rent assistance for current recipients who earn under $40K for a family. We also added budget direction language to see about helping more people. More to do on those earning less than 30% of the Area Median Income.
2. Education. We met the requests for $2.8 million in one-time funding that the School Board shared with us: summer school, new school opening, and other needs. There is more to do on school funding over the coming year in partnership, but I am proud we met the requests.
3. Hunger. On Hunger, see the 6 minute video below and the press release on the Task Force we're talked about, go here: [link removed]

[link removed]
To learn more about our Food Security Task Force, watch the video above and go here: [link removed]

Several other areas of the budget also reflect our priorities.

4. Climate Change. We funded electric vehicles, drafted budget direction on a whole of government approach, and took a number of steps forward. For Eco-Action's thank you to the Board on our environment, go here [link removed]

5. Inclusive economic growth. We put aside funding for a follow on GRANTS program to the one we did last year to help small businesses and nonprofits. Takis Karantonis also drafted direction to Arlington Economic Development on a revolving loan approach to help small and minority owned businesses, among others.

6. Equity, voting, and funding for police practice reform. We added $50K for an equity audit, funding for two Sundays of voting in the fall, and more than $1.5 million to implement the reforms recommended by the Police Practices Group. At the May meeting, we will take up some of the work to implement the police practice group: Go here for the 41 minute video: [link removed] and here for the presentation on the work to this point: [link removed]
County Board Statement on the Derek Chauvin Verdict ([link removed])
Other County Board Actions in April
At the April meetings, the Board also took several other actions of note
* We approved additional discretion for height for affordable housing in 3 zoning districts: [link removed]
* We moved forward with a purchase of property for an arts district: [link removed]
* We accepted the County Manager's recommendation not to designate the Febrey Lothrup house with a historic overlay district. On this last issue, I would note that the cost of the property was a consideration as we balanced the decision. We are pursuing a planning process that I am hopeful about on this matter.
* For the Full County Board Wrap up, go here: [link removed]

If you have questions, please email me at [email protected] as replying to this email will not work for the moment. Or email me at [email protected]



PS: Watch these videos and share them to help encourage friends to get vaccinated.

Get Vaccinated - [link removed] ([link removed])
Take your shot - [link removed] ([link removed])

Why I am getting Vaccinated!
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Arabic: [link removed] ([link removed])
Bengali: [link removed] ([link removed])
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