Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Email scams and Tax Season

The IRS has issued an alert to taxpayers and tax preparers to be on the
lookout for e-mail schemes that attempt to obtain their personal and tax
information by way of phishing or malware that is contained in an
unsolicited e-mail. Incidents of this type have increased approximately
400 percent from last year.

It is important to keep in mind the IRS or State taxing agencies do not
initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or
financial information. This includes any type of electronic
communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

Phishing works as follows:
An individual receives an official looking e-mail from what appears to be
an official source such as the IRS or State tax agency. The underlying
message frequently asks the individual to update important information by
clicking on a web link. Once the individual clicks on the link they are
taken to a webpage that appears to be an official page of the agency.
These sites can also contain malware that can infect their computers and
allow criminals to access their computer files or track their keystrokes
to gain information.

The IRS is urging individuals to not click on links contained in
unsolicited e-mails that ask them to update important personal and/or tax
information. If they receive one of these e-mails they should forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Examples of subject lines and underlying texts that the IRS has seen in
these e-mails are:

- Wanting information concerning their tax refund

- Asking the individual to update their filing details

Friday, January 22, 2016

Let's talk Snow Removal

Ordinance Specifics for Residents and Business Owners

  • Snow and ice removal - All property owners are required to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property:
    • Must be removed from the entire width of the sidewalk up to 3 feet wide (to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, and adults with children in hand).
    • Must be removed within 24 hours after the snow stops falling when accumulations are less than 6 inches, and within 36 hours when 6 or more inches of snow accumulate (as measured at National Airport, per National Weather Service). If another snow event occurs, the clock will reset to the end of the most recent snowfall. We will post the official snow ending time on this webpage.
    • Noncompliance could result in a civil penalty of $50 for sidewalks less than 200 linear feet in length, or$100 for sidewalks longer than 200 feet.
    • The County may remove the snow or ice on sidewalks around private property when the owner fails to comply within the designated time period, and charge the cost to the owner.
  • Depositing snow and ice on streets or sidewalks: Private owners may not deposit snow or ice from private property onto public property, including streets & sidewalks. Such action may result in a class 4 (criminal) misdemeanor and fine of $250.
  • The County is responsible for clearing sidewalks bordering County government-owned property. Read about theCounty’s snowfighting efforts.


  • Even though some individuals are exempt from the Ordinance, it is our hope that everyone will do the best they canto clear sidewalks, keeping our community safe and walkable.
    • Homeowners who may need extra help can contact their civic association; the County is working with them to support neighborhood volunteer clearing efforts.
  • Commercial property owners are expected to comply with the Ordinance.
    • Snow clearing should be part of basic business operating plans.
  • Individual homeowners who are physically incapable of complying with the ordinance are exempt.
    • The County will not be pre-qualifying or maintaining lists of exempt individuals.
    • Prior to issuing citations, County staff will make every effort to contact owners to determine if they are exempt.
    • If the unlikely event that you receive a citation (and you are exempt), merely provide information about your exemption.
  • If snow/ice is redeposited on your cleared sidewalk as a result of government action (e.g., snowplowing), you will be exempt from the ordinance.
    • However, it’s our hope that everyone will do what they can to re-clear sidewalks to ensure our community is safe and walkable.


Supporting and Enforcing the Ordinance

  • The general intent of the ordinance is to identify locations and situations that pose a public safety hazard and to encourage voluntary compliance with snow and ice removal requirements.
  • The Arlington County Manager has the authority to suspend enforcement of the ordinance based on weather conditions.
  • See details in the Snow Ordinance Implementation Plan.

Volunteer to Help Your Neighbors

We’re working with civic associations and other community groups to promote neighborhood sidewalk snow clearing efforts. The effort brings together local community leaders and neighborhood volunteers to increase community involvement, assist elderly neighbors or neighbors with disabilities, and facilitate winter weather preparedness. Register through Volunteer Arlington orcontact your civic association directly. You can also read about the County’s Snowblower Loaner Program.

Tips and Requests

  • During severe winter weather, stay off the roadways if possible. Read our Winter Weather Preparation and Safety Tips.
  • Snowplows must navigate many narrow streets. Residents should avoid parking on the street to allow snowplows to clear the street from curb-to-curb. Cars that remain on the street may be plowed in or damaged by a skidding vehicle.
  • Keep fire hydrants clear of snow, visible and accessible in the event of an emergency.
  • Do not plow, shovel, or blow snow from your own property onto the street – this is a violation of Arlington County law and you could be fined. Pile the snow onto your own yard.