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The Arlington County Board Wants More of Your Money

When the Board approved the Fiscal Year 2005 budget in April, it included a 14.6% increase in average residential property taxes. That wasn't enough for the county's appetite for more of your money. On Saturday, July 10, they voted to put $208 million before the voters of Arlington in four bond referenda (Manager's June 24 report and July 8 'supplemental ' report -- both require Adobe Acrobat) . This includes:

- $75.4 million for local parks and recreation
- 45.9 million for transportation and infrastructure
- 18.5 million for Metro
- 78.1 million for Arlington Public Schools

Sunday's Washington Post reported the November bond question will be the largest bond question in county history. A major problem with the way the Board chose to 'package' the four bonds is that the largest issue on the county side is the proposed park facility at North Tract because the cost estimates are based on various estimates, and not on solid engineering work. Even worse, there is virtually no discussion of North Tract in either the Manager's June 24 report or in the supplemental report. If voters approve the parks and recreation referendus, the Board will literally be getting a blank check for more than $75 million. The issue with the cost estimates is covered well in the Washington Post article.

On June 11, we noted that the Arlington poohbahs were backpeddling on the Westover library for which voters had approved $4 million in bonds back in 1998 with completion promised by 2000. The library is now overbudget, and the Schools are reevaluating their participation.

For more details about the give 'n take during the Board's discussion, and about the the bonds, please read the stories in the Arlington Sun-Gazette and the Arlington Connection.

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