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Had 2020 turned out differently, the Arlington County government – which in recent years has started drifting back to its pre-2014 profligate ways – likely would have put a number of whopper bond referenda on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The arrival of COVID, its impact on the economy and the bottom line of the county government, resulted in a retrenchment in thinking over the spring and summer. As a result, it’s a rather scaled-down package of referendums headed to voters. (Breaking the tradition of only holding bond referendums every other year, county officials plan on coming back with a new bond package in 2021, assuming the economic floor doesn’t fall out of the region during what could be a severe winter of discontent in America.)

In 2020, here is what voters will see on their ballot:

• A referendum totaling $52.65 million for county schools.

• A referendum totaling $50.84 million for stormwater projects.

• A referendum totaling $29.94 million for transportation and Metro.

• A referendum totaling $7.485 million for community infrastructure.

• A referendum totaling $3.63 million for parks and recreation.

There have been complaints made about a number of them; some open-space advocates aren’t happy with the park bond and there have been some rumblings of discontent with the priorities of the stormwater bond.

But overall, there has been no sustained opposition, and given that no county bond referendum in Arlington has been defeated since Jimmy Carter (happy 96th birthday last week, by the way) was in the White House, there is little chance voters will be turning thumbs down.

And we see no reason for doing so. We’ll recommend a “YES” vote on the five referenda.

(1) comment


Voters should ask - How much of these bond funds are necessary because County Government is dedicated to Growth-for-the-Sake-of-Growth with no end in sight? How much of these bond funds will be used for more dedicated sports and recreation infrastructure while residents increasingly use sidewalks and streets for recreation? How much of these bond funds will be used to narrow streets while the County Board approves infill site plans with hundreds more parking spaces per site plan and continues to gentrify workers out of the County?

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