The Arlington County treasurer’s office has started accepting applications in the 13th annual county decal competition, with the winning entry to be displayed on more than 160,000 vehicles in the county starting next summer.
Students from all of Arlington’s high schools are eligible to submit entries. The deadline is Nov. 28, and the entries will be winnowed to four finalists by a panel of community notables the following month. Community-wide voting will then take place to select a winner.
In addition to having the winning design reproduced on decals showing payment of personal property taxes, the competition will include cash prizes courtesy of Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, and artwork will be displayed both at the credit union and the Arlington campus of George Mason University.
The current decal features a design by Wakefield High School student Ryan Kovich, featuring a photo of the iconic “Arlington” sign that can be found at the Arlington Cinema-n-Drafthouse on Columbia Pike. The building, which dates to the 1940s, previously housed the Arlington Theatre.
Prior to the 2015-16 competition, the top vote-getter won the competition even if the design did not achieve a majority of votes cast. For 2016, the treasurer’s office instituted “instant-runoff” voting, eliminating low-scoring finalists until one design received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Most Virginia jurisdictions require tax decals on windshields, but Arlington in 2003 was the first to give residents a chance to vote on design options. Two years later, the competition was limited to submissions by Arlington high-school students.
The competition was conceived by then-Treasurer Frank O’Leary, and has been continued by his successor, Carla de la Pava.
For information, see the Web site at http://taxes.arlingtonva.us/vehicle-decal-design-competition.