Voters to Consider Four Local Bond Referenda
On November 6, 2012 Arlington residents voted on four local bond referenda totaling $153.4 million. The four questions cover these areas:
The projects included in these bond questions are components of the County’s ten-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and Arlington Public Schools’ CIP, adopted in July 2012. If approved by the voters, proceeds from the bonds will be used to pay for the projects discussed below. Project descriptions can be found in the County’s FY 2013 – FY 2022 CIP.
This year’s CIP expanded the planning horizon from six-years to ten-years, allowing for better planning and financing of multi-year projects and associated lifecycle costs, and providing better linkages to the County’s various master plans. The plan primarily focuses on reinvesting in aging infrastructure and funding strategic transportation and recreation initiatives. The CIP was guided by the Board’s adopted financial and debt management policies which help ensure that the County maintains its Aaa/AAA/AAA bond ratings.
Arlington is one of only 39 counties in the nation to receive AAA ratings from the three major rating agencies. These strong bond ratings allow the County to borrow at very low interest rates, resulting in lower costs to Arlington taxpayers.
1. Metro and Transportation: $31,946,000
Arlington is one of seven jurisdictions funding the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system. The County’s annual contribution supports WMATA’s ongoing CIP. The capital projects and activities included in the WMATA CIP fund the ongoing safety and maintenance of the WMATA transit system, facility and system upgrades to support future eight car train operations, the purchase of buses, support facilities, and new 7000 series railcars.
The Transportation program funds WalkArlington, BikeArlington, Neighborhood Traffic Calming and projects leveraged with state and federal transportation match. In addition, this category also funds the paving program. The repaving processes extend the useful life of streets for 10 years and beyond, meeting bond funding criteria.
2. Local Parks and Recreation: $50,553,000
This program funds Parks Maintenance Capital and provides for recurring, systematic re-investment in existing facilities to insure efficient, safe, high quality park and recreation facilities. Included are projects approved in the Park Master Plan such as the modernization of Quincy, Highview and Virginia Highlands parks. These projects include the replacement of playground equipment and athletic fields, safety surfacing, landscaping, ADA accommodations, and other capital improvements.
Funding is also included for the design and construction of the Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility and surrounding park. Features include a 50-meter x 25-yard competition pool, teaching pool, family leisure pool, therapy pool and wet classrooms / partyrooms. An indoor fitness area and community space will also be constructed, as well as surface parking, public art, and a variety of outdoor public spaces in the adjacent park.
The parks land acquisition and open space program is also included in this category. The funding allows the County to support or expand recreational opportunities, protect or conserve existing open space, preserve unique land features, and/or provide additional green space in urban areas.
3. Community Infrastructure: $28,306,000
Neighborhood Conservation: $11,000,000
This program funds neighborhood infrastructure improvements that have been requested by neighborhoods and approved by the Board including: street improvements (such as sidewalk, curb and gutter, park improvements, street lighting and beautification. Proposed by civic associations, neighborhood Conservation projects are evaluated twice yearly by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, which then makes recommendations to the County Board for approval.
Public/Government Facilities: $3,831,000
This program funds the maintenance capital needs of public and government infrastructure. During the lifecycle of a typical facility, roofs, mechanical, electrical and other systems and interior / exterior finishes require replacement or renewal to remain in good working order. Projects generally extend the useful life of the facility, and may improve safety systems and energy efficiency. This program would provide the County with the financial flexibility to make the necessary investments at the right time without significant detrimental effects to other approved programs and projects.
Information Technology / Public Safety: $13,475,000
This program funds the ConnectArlington and Intelligent Transportation System projects. These projects will build out fiber optic infrastructure interconnecting County facilities and transportation infrastructure to enhance reliability and agility, and will accommodate future requirements. These projects will also allow public safety to build a fully redundant network to enhance traffic and emergency / incident management.
4. Public Schools: $42,620,000
The Schools’ capital proposal was developed after a review of the physical conditions at school facilities, an analysis of existing and future facility needs and project affordability. The 2012 bond will fund the design and construction of new elementary schools, facility additions and various School projects.
For questions or comments on the 2012 Bond Referenda, please contact Jason Friess in the Department of Management and Finance.