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Don't Cut My Program, Cut Those Other Programs

The Arlington County Board budget (Tuesday, March 28) and tax (Thursday, March 30) hearings were held this week.

At Tuesday's budget hearing, not surprisingly to anyone who has watched these hearings over the years, "residents oppose proposed cuts at budget hearing," according to the story headline at ARLnow.com.

Here's a portion of the ARLnow.com story as reported by Chris Teale:

"Numerous Arlington residents spoke out last night against the County Manager’s “optional” proposed cuts to lessen a planned tax increase.

"The County Board’s public hearing Tuesday saw opposition to suggested cuts to the Lee Highway Planning Initiative, snow removal from trails and the Glencarlyn Library among other programs.

"County Manager Mark Schwartz proposed a $1.2 billion budget for FY 2018 that includes a tax increase of 2 cents per $100 of assessed value. One cent apiece would go towards Arlington Public Schools and Metro’s increased funding needs.

"After direction from County Board members, Schwartz produced a version that would only have a 1-cent increase and cuts elsewhere to make up the difference.

"But the suggested cut to funding Lee Highway planning — which would shelve the project until further notice — brought strong opposition from residents and business owners. Under the $500,000 budget cut, the Lee Highway Alliance, a grassroots partnership that looks to improve the quality of life along the corridor, would lose all $60,000 of its county funding, according to speakers.

“The Lee Highway Alliance is the Arlington way: it’s a grassroots effort that sprung up as we realized the need for planning in this corridor,” said Karen Kumm Morris, a representative of the Rock Spring Civic Association.
“A good idea is meaningless without the courage to act,” agreed Sandi Chesrown, an executive board member on the Waverly Hills Civic Association.

"Also coming under fire was the plan to cut the Glencarlyn Branch Library’s days of operation from six to two, but it brought one of the two-hour hearing’s lighter moments."

 He also pointed out:

"Earlier this month, opinion columnist Mark Kelly suggested that Schwartz’s optional cuts were purposefully unpalatable, “designed to make taxpayers believe there are few desirable options when it comes to trimming the budget.” Schwartz, in a statement, said making budget cut recommendations “is always difficult, particularly given the growing demands and potential impacts on our community.’

Teale embedded several links in his report that may help you further understand the county budget.

It is not too late for Growls readers to comment on the FY 2018 budget. Arlington residents have three choices:

  • Second, you can contact the Arlington County Board with any relevant comments or questions about the County Manager's proposed FY 2018 budget. Just click-on the following link to send the Board a message:
- Write or call the Arlington County Board via e-mail, or
  • Third, call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130.

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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