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FY 2015 Arlington County Budget Adopted; Voters Get Dividend

At their recessed meeting last night, the Arlington County Board formally adopted the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which totaled $1.489 billion (items 37 a-n on the County Board agenda). To get to $1.489 billion, one needs to sum the components from item 37a, containing the budget and appropriations resolutions. The major components:

  • General Fund -- $683.9 million
  • Other Operating Funds -- $257.0 million
  • School and Other Funds -- $532.1
  • Community Activities Fund -- $15.7 million

Sliced somewhat differently, the total general fund budget was $1.147.7, representing "a 5.1% increase over the FY 2014 budget," according to the Manager's report at 37a.

At the Arlington Sun Gazette, a portion of Scott McCaffrey's reporting of the budget's adoption included:

"County Board members on April 22 voted unanimously to approve a record fiscal 2015 spending package that will see a small cut in the real estate tax rate but a higher tax-and-fee burden for most homeowners.

"The vote ratified board action a week before to drop the real estate tax rate for homeowners from $1.006 per $100 assessed valuation to 99.6 cents. But because of rising assessments, most homeowners will pay more in 2014 than they did in 2013.

"The average local-tax-and-fee burden for Arlington homeowners, which already was more than $7,000 last year, will rise an additional $324 this year, up 4.6 percent, county officials said."

We will provide readers of Growls with additional analyses of the FY 2015 budget during the remainder of the year.

In addition, at the Arlington Sun Gazette, Mr. McCaffrey reported on two other items that may be of interest to readers of Growls:

  • First, he reported there may be "a slight change in tone on Arlington streetcar debate," which he suggested results from the fallout from the April 8 special election included this:

"While the pro-streetcar faction on the County Board retains a 3-2 majority, it appeared that they were handling Garvey and fellow anti-streetcar board member John Vihstadt a little less harshly than when it had been Garvey as the lone opponent on the dais.

"Fisette and Garvey even agreed to what they called a truce – perhaps just a cease-fire – on the use of the phrase “bus-rapid-transit” in describing the alternate system preferred by anti-streetcar backers. Garvey said she wanted to use the phrase “streetcar-like bus,” and Fisette agreed that the new-generation bus systems indeed have some of the functionality of streetcars.

"(The diplomacy only went so far: County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes put out another peace feeler to Garvey, suggesting that everyone agree that both streetcars and buses could potentially have merit on Columbia Pike, but Garvey rejected that out of hand.)"

  • The second item reported by Scott McCaffrey also involved fallout from the special election since it was largely fought over the proposed construction of the Columbia Pike Streetcar. According to McCaffrey, "The meeting could cap months of behind-the-scenes discussions over the fate of Garvey, who has split with many Democrats over the Columbia Pike streetcar and opted to support anti-streetcar candidate Vihstadt over Democratic nominee Alan Howze in the special election." Read the news report since it contains many details. Eathan Rothstein reports this story for ARLnow.com here.
See also our April 16, 2014 Growls where we quoted a letter from Wayne Kubicki to the editor of the Arlington Sun Gazette, who suggested the idea for a Vihstadt Divident.

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