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Kudos to Civic Federation Vote on “Stand-Alone Referendum”

At it’s membership meeting last night, delegates of the Arlington County Civic Federation voted 25-6 urging “County Board members to pull funding for Long Bridge Park out of the proposed parks and recreation bond, and instead send it to voters as a stand-alone referendum question,” as the Arlington Sun Gazette put it in an online report today.

The context, according to the Sun Gazette:

“County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed including $42.5 million for the second phase of the Crystal City park complex as part of a larger park bond that would go to voters on Nov. 6. But Civic Federation delegates, on a 25-6 vote, determined that the project was big, and controversial, enough to merit stand-alone status on the ballot.

“The proposed second phase of the park complex would include an indoor aquatic center, long sought by some advocates. But the impact of the second phase, both on the county government’s overall indebtedness and on the annual cost of servicing the debt, would be “considerable,” the Civic Federation noted, estimating it would cost taxpayers about $7 million a year in the initial years.

“The total cost for the second phase is estimated at more than $72 million. County officials have nearly $10 million on hand from a previous bond package, and aim to get $20 million in contributions – perhaps through transfers of development rights – from the business sector.”

The resolution was put forth by the group’s Revenues & Expenditures Committee and it’s chairman Wayne Kubicki. Kudos to the R&E committee and Mr. Kubicki.

You can find the entire resolution here (requires Adobe) with all the WHEREASes and the THEREFORE on the Federation’s website. Here’s the link to the county’s May 16, 2012 press release on the Manager’s proposed FY 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan. The full CIP and various briefing materials can be found on the FY 2013-2022 CIP webpage.

UPDATE (6/6/12). Steve Thurston, reporting for the Arlington Mercury, an online news webpage (HT Suzanne Sundborg) writes:

"The Arlington County Board will ask voters in November to approve about $164 million in new debt to cover everything from pavement and bridge repair to Metro system improvements and school construction. The problem for some Arlington Civic Federation delegates is that voters will consider that money bundled in broad categories, not as individual projects.

< . . . >

"A couple delegates argued that the money for the aquatics center had already been discussed and vetted and that voters knew it would be paid for with bond money. But supporters were not buying it.

“The point of this is to give the voters a chance to do some line-item voting,” said one delegate.

Another delegate, Wayne Kubicki, argued that the federation had just spent over an hour discussing the legality of hanging signs in neighborhoods, so “maybe it’s worth a little bit of time to talk about $72 million,” he said.


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