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Special Bond Referendum for Metro Likely Not Needed

 "Arlington will not need special bond referendum to fund Metro request," according to Scott McCaffrey in the online Arlington Sun Gazette today.

McCaffrey explained in part:

"Despite the increasing needs of the region’s beleaguered Metro system, Arlington County officials say they will not have to go to voters in a special bond referendum to meet the transit agency’s capital-spending request – at least not in the short term.

"The general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has requested that localities across the region pitch in to provide increased spending for annual operating costs and capital projects for the transit agency, which in recent years has been hemorrhaging riders and cash.

"In his proposed fiscal 2018 budget, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz recommends meeting the short-term request, although he voiced skepticism of the sustainability of more local funding in future years.

"Arlington funds its share of Metro operational costs out of the local government’s annual budget. Capital spending is funded through bond referendums sent to voters every two years.

"Officials with the county government’s Department of Management and Finance say the higher capital spending in fiscal 2018 will not require an additional referendum prior to 2018, when the next one is scheduled. County officials say they have enough bond funds still remaining (though not yet sold) from a 2014 transportation referendum to cover the request."

Congratulations to the Department of Management and Finance (DM&F) officials for finding those "remaining bond funds." Makes a taxpayer wonder just how many other funds are squirreled away on the county's books. Or, perhaps, it helps explain why the analysis of county reserves, called for in the Board's "guidance and notes" to the Adopted FY 2017 Budget, that was originally due October 31, will not be presented to the County Board until one of its planned budget work sessions.

Growls readers who are Arlington County taxpayers should contact the Arlington County Board with any questions about bond referenda or county reserves. Just click-on the following link to send the Board a message:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130.

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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