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A Budget Milestone for Arlington County? Drum roll, please!

Remember it this way, local government in Arlington County will spend $5,000 for each man, woman, and child living in the county. How’s that, you say? On Tuesday evening, the Arlington County Board will almost surely approve an amendment to the FY 2007 budget they adopted on April 22 that will push the “total budget” above $1 billion. According to the County Manager’s report for item 22 (text, attachment – both require Adobe), which was on the Board’s so-called “consent agenda,” the resolutions “reflect final changes approved by the School Board subsequent to the County Board’s adoption of the FY 2007 budget.

Why the drum roll, though? Assuming the Board approves the Manager’s recommendations, the “total budget for county and school purposes” will be $1.003 billion. With the county’s population at very close to 200,000, that means local government in the county is spending $5,000 per man, woman, and child. Is that enough government? No wonder people jokingly refer to Arlington County as the “peoples’ republic!”

For a bit more perspective on the meaning of Arlington's $1 billion budget, consider the economy of El Salvador, a country of 6.8 million people, has an estimated (2005) per capita gross domestic product of $4,700, according to the CIA World Fact Book. It seems an especially poignant comparison since Arlington took the first step last week to establish a Sister City relationship with San Miguel, that country's second largest city.

HT to budget hawk Bob Atkins.