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A Lesson in How Arlington County Uses Our Taxes

The big money is yet to be spent by Arlington County on the proposed park, known until Tuesday as North Tract, but the way they went about renaming the park can’t bode well for the wallets of Arlington taxpayers.

On Tuesday evening, the Arlington County Board selected “Long Bridge Park” as the new name for the park, which was informally known as North Tract, according to a report January 31 in the online Arlington Sun-Gazette. The name honors “a succession of river spans that have connected Arlington and the District of Columbia for nearly 200 years.” More specifically:

“The original Long Bridge opened as a toll drawbridge for foot and horse traffic in 1809. The bridge was burned by both the British and Americans during the War of 1812, reopened in 1816 and was renovated from 1832-35. In the 1850s, it began to accommodate railroad traffic.”

The paper also reported on January 26 that keeping the North Tract name was not considered because the county was looking for “the most evocative, memorable and descriptive names possible.”

Obviously, such a task required hiring a consultant. Indeed, the county did just that. Hey, if you’re going to spend upwards of $100 million, why not spend a few more taxpayer dollars for a name. And they did. According to the county, “a purchase order for services in the amount of $10,600 was approved for Reingold Communications. To date, $8,834 has been paid to this vendor.”

I guess that is an early indication that when the Board “scrubs” the Manager’s proposed FY 2009 during the next couple of months, don’t expect them to find any economies or efficiencies in the budget. Here are links to the county’s press release on the renaming and the webpage where you can access agenda item 38 of the Board’s January 29 meeting.

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