weather icon 79° Mostly Cloudy
The Latest:

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 18, 2012 at 8:45 am | 3,647 views | 152 Comments

Students Welcome Shuttle Arrival — Students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington welcomed the arrival of space shuttle Discovery yesterday by lining up in the school’s parking lot in the outline of a space shuttle.

Budget Proposal Includes Tax Hike, Pay Raise — At a work session yesterday, the Arlington County Board agreed to raise the real estate tax rate for its new budget — set for adoption on Saturday — by 1.3 cents above the current rate. That’s well above the 0.5 cent tax rate hike in County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed budget. The new budget includes increased funding for schools, libraries, housing and employee pay raises — including a 2.8 percent pay raise for County Board members themselves. [Washington Post]

Board to Consider Crystal Drive Two-Way Project — The County Board on Saturday is expected to approve a $1.9 million contract to convert the portion of Crystal Drive between 15th and 12th Streets into a two-way street with bike lanes and various other improvements. [Sun Gazette]

Renovated Residence Inn to Reopen — A grand reopening celebration is scheduled at the Residence Inn hotel on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City. The event, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, will celebrate the recent “upscale” renovation of the hotel’s suites and public spaces. “The new look of our spacious suites will help our guests feel right at home and our totally reimagined lobby has wide open spaces to work and relax,” a company rep said in a press release.

Photo courtesy Chris Marquez

Print Friendly and PDF
  • Sam

    For those that don’t read the links; there was this at the bottom of the Post article which describes why it is 1.3 cents versus 1 cent.

    Minutes before the issue of a pay raise for elected officials came up, the board was grappling with an unwelcome surprise from the Virginia legislature that could cost $1.9 million. Under Virginia law, public employees must contribute 5 percent of their pay to the Virginia Retirement System. Most school districts picked up the cost for their employees because it was less expensive than giving raises, Hynes said.

    But last week, the legislature required schools to offset that cost and mandated a raise for school workers, effectively about 1.2 percent after deductions are taken. The state, however, would not pay for the raise but is requiring counties and cities to cover the cost out of local tax dollars, Hynes said.

    County board members, who learned the details Monday night, agreed to add three-tenths of a cent to the tax rate to cover the costs. If the action is overturned, the money will go into a contingency fund.

  • Truthi

    Thsi is why I never cote for an incumbent county board member. Fed Emloyees who are most of their consituants get no raise for two years and wll probably not for a thrd one and these guys give themselves a 3% raise and raise the tax rate. Nice.

    • drax

      Um, the federal government has huge deficits each year. Arlington, on the other hand, has a balanced budget. So by that standard, not only is a raise reasonable, perhaps it is even deserved.

      • CW

        Plus a bunch to you, drax.

        I am tired of people giving the public sector unfair treatment. If Arlington County were a private business, investors would be trampling each other to buy in. Demand for its product outstrips supply by far and continues to go through the roof, with tons of new supply coming online in the next few years too. In business, this would be all that matters. Can you sell the product? And are the books sound? The answer to both here is a resounding yes. I assure you that if a 200,000 employee corporation were having the kind of success that Arlington is, the members of its board would be giving themselves a LOT more than a2.8% raise.

      • ResponsibleDemocrat

        So find some other way to pay for their raise than by raising my taxes. Plenty of pet projects could use a trim.

        • drax

          That’s fine. I was just criticizing Truthi’s logic, not defending the pay raise.

          But the pay raise, of course, involved only a tiny fraction of the tax increase.

        • Josh S

          Please provide the math on that.

          • ResponsibleDemocrat

            Artisphere budget = $500,000.

            Do your own math.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            No additional tax money was used for Artisphere. In fact this was a condition of approving it in the first place. The County merely consolidated exisitng arts funding into Artisphere. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, they are not entitled to the facts. Please know your facts.

          • ResponsibleDemocrat

            If you would read the entire comment chain, you would see we are talking about shifting money around to mitigate the tax increase.

            Fact: Artisphere’s operation is part of Arlington’s budget.

          • Patrick

            That is completely false. The CB just raised the Artisphere’s budget this past year.

          • drax

            Patrick,

            The source of the funds wasn’t new though, in other words, it came from money that would have been spent on other projects anyway. That’s how I understand it.

          • Josh S

            $500,000 is < $1.9 million.

            Any other "pet projects?"

            This conversation, of course, assumes that a majority of Arlington residents agree with you that "pet projects" like the Artisphere should be completely zeroed out rather than pay an extra $20 (or so) in property taxes.

          • Zoning Victim

            The $1.5M payment to the affordable housing fund could and should be scrapped. We could get rid of the increase in spending on the Ballston Parking Garage ($1.8M / 34% increase) or the $1.3M increase in “Automotive Equipment” (9.1% increase) or the $0.5M increase to the Electoral Board (62% increase).

            If we just limited our spending increases to the level of inflation between the 2011 and 2012 budgets, we’d save $154M.

            The following document describes the changes in the budget between 2011 and 2012:

            http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/ManagementAndFinance/budget/file81356.pdf

            A lot of these spending increases between 2011 and 2012 seem out of line given an inflation rate of 3.2%.

          • Flo

            These numbers do not even make sense. To offset a new $1.9 million expense, they applied an extra 3/10 of a cent / $100 assessment.

            Just taking some numbers from Arlington’s own recent profile, the average residential assessment is $523,050. The number of residential units around Metro stops was 105,404 in 2010. That is only around Metro, remember. If you run the numbers just based on that, you get about $1.65 million in revenue from the 3/10 increase.

            That does not even include commercial real estate tax assessments.

            What is wrong with this picture?

          • Suburban Not Urban

            I had some of the same Q Flo. Does the 1.9 million have to be effective on the School board side of the 50% revenue sharing agreement – which requires the board to get 3.8 million on their side and end up with an extra 1.9 million to spend on the non-school side?

          • Josh S

            Vic -

            However, just a little more study on the document you linked to revealed that the actual 2010 general fund operations were $3 million more than adopted 2011 general fund operations. So the overall change from 2010 actual to 2012 adopted was only about 3.4%. If we include the other operating and capital funds, the difference was even greater with total county requirements falling by $61 million from 2010 actual to 2012 adopted.

            Also, while “Automotive Equipment” increased by 9% from 2011 to 2012, it’s still $3 million less than in was in 2010.

            Finally, of the three examples you provided, can you give an adequate description of what the money for those programs is used for or an explanation of why the adopted budgets for those three items increased from 2011 to 2012? If you can’t, then how do you know they aren’t justified?

            (I’ll go ahead and take a stab at the Electoral Board, which goes from $815K in 2010 (an election year) to $740K in 2011 (not an election year) to $1.2 m in 2012 (an election year with lots of primaries, local elections, etc.) I would wager that 2013 will see the Electoral Board’s budget go down.)

          • IP678

            Why is Artisphere justified at all?

          • Zoning Victim

            I don’t know that they aren’t justified as eventual projects; anything can be justified in someone’s eyes, anyway. I was providing suggestions on where we could cut to make up for the 1.9 million that somehow equated to a much bigger tax increase than what the CM asked for by looking for areas where spending has increased markedly.

            It’s not always all about whether or not something should be done at all, but how we could prioritize items out of this year and into the next (or the next three) so we can cover things like the school surprise by the state without always raising taxes.

            I’m not sure what business Richmond has telling us to pay our teachers, anyway, but that’s a different debate.

        • Always Right

          But if you truly are a ResponsibleDemocrat, you LOVE raising taxes.

      • John Fontain

        I’m not following your logic, drax. Are you saying that the basis for determining whether raises are ‘deserved’ depends on whether the gov’t is able to extract the funds from taxpayers?

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          Uh no. I think what drax was saying is that the basis for determining whether raises are ‘deserved’ depends on how successful the County government is in providing its “product”. Since by all measures they have been highly, if not unusually, successfull (i.e. maintained a balanced budget where most counties and states are negative, a AAA+ rating, continuing to attract new business and residents, etc.), they deserve to be rewarded, even if the reward is rather paultry by corporate standards.

          • Zoning Victim

            Doing all of that without raising our taxes might be deserving of a raise, if this wasn’t a public service position. To John’s point, just raising taxes to cover spending isn’t really all that difficult.

            People need to scrap this “product” BS; this isn’t a company. It’s a far worse analogy than comparing personal finances to how governments budget, which is something that liberals point out all the time when conservatives complain about deficit spending.

          • CW

            How is it not a product? Are people placed here by forces that be and held in at gunpoint? Last I checked, someone moving to the area had a choice. And a lot of them are choosing Arlington over NW DC, Bethesda, Fairfax, Alexandria, etc.

            Secondly, why are good business practices not transferrable to the public sector? It is not a charity. If the public sector wants to attain a caliber of talent comparable to the private sector, it can’t be hamstrung and prevented from competing. Do you want a county with a budget in the billions to be run by people doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, or by people who don’t wish to be incentivized competitively? I don’t.

          • Zoning Victim

            Don’t turn my statement into a referendum on whether or not they should get raises, it’s not. I’d never work for the county even if I liked the way they ran things because the pay sucks. As for the ACB, I’d say $50K for a part-time job is a pretty good deal.

            It’s not a product, period. Products are sold for profit and built by companies that must succeed or fail on a finite amount of starting capital. They can’t just decide to take more money from everybody when the screw up or something unplanned happens, nor can they just decide everybody is going to pay for something that a select few ever use. Obviously, there have been a few ill-conceived exceptions to that rule as of late with all the stupid bailouts, but on the whole, businesses must put out a desired product and support their own growth or fail, and government’s do not. There is really no point to growing the population of a county, and it’s not something that can just be manufactured. Trying to liken the running of a county to the running of a business is just plain silly, which gets pointed out pretty much every time someone tries to make that comparison; this is no different.

          • drax

            There you go again, John, assuming that the only reason we have a balanced budget is tax increases. So far, our tax rates are still lower than the norm, as I’ve mentioned before, so claiming that it’s all about tax hikes is not supported by reality.

          • IP678

            If they did not increase taxes this year, would the budget be balanced?

          • drax

            Read the word ONLY, please. Oh, and the rest of the thread. And a basic math textbook.

          • IP678

            Not answering the question bro?

            Lemme speak up for your quiet self:

            No the budget could not balanced without this corresponding tax increase, unless they decided to cut some spending.

          • drax

            Sigh.

            Another poster used “tax increases” when he meant “abnormally high tax rates.” I was referring to that, pointing out that our tax rates are not abnormally high. That poster was also referring to the budget overall, not any particular year.

        • drax

          No, I’m not saying that. Thanks for asking though.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            Oops, I meant CW…

          • drax

            I was answering John. No worries.

          • John Fontain

            Then you might want to clarify your statement, because as it is written it doesn’t make any sense.

          • drax

            I thought it was pretty clear, especially when you read through the thread.

            But okay – I’m saying that comparing Arlington’s situation to the federal government isn’t really valid.

          • John Fontain

            You still haven’t addressed your specific point about Arlington gov’t employees deserving raises because we have a ‘balanced budget.’ Feel free to try now…

          • drax

            I said “perhaps” they deserve a pay raise. And then, in another post, I clearly said I wasn’t defending the pay raise, merely criticizing another poster’s logic.

            Got it now?

          • John Fontain

            I think I got it now. You were criticizing another poster’s logic with your own ‘logic’ that determining whether local gov’t employees deserve pay raises should be based on whether the money can be extracted from tax payers or not. Got it!

          • drax

            Nope, you still don’t got it.

            When you let me speak for myself and stop trying to put words in my mouth, maybe you will get it.

          • John Fontain

            You sure are jumping through lots of hoops to avoid trying to make sense out of the original post. I don’t blame you.

          • drax

            My original post made sense in the first place, John. I’m done explaining it to you.

      • Stitch_Jones

        Yes – heaven forbid that if once we balance a budget we actually look at ways to cut expenditures and eventually scale back tax rates.

        Every pay raise should be put to a referendum vote on a ballot for the voters of the county. A ledger of the county’s finances should be posted at each polling place as well.

        Cue the spurious and irrelevant criticisms…

        • drax

          We already gave a referendum – it’s called an election.

          • ResponsibleDemocrat

            Just like the referendum that put Bush II in office. I’m sure you were OK with everything that transpired as a result of that and never voiced a counter opinion. amirite?

          • Clarendon

            Are you referring to the 6-5 decision ?

          • drax

            Huh?

            I was just saying that we don’t need a referendum on every little issue because we have elections. If you don’t like the pay raise, vote against the incumbents next fall.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            We also vote on all of the increases for schools, etc. on the ballot. Of course you’d have to vote to see these things on the ballot…

      • KalashniKEV

        Of course they have a balanced budget- just look at the tremendous revenues they raise!

        They have WAY more than enough money to:
        1) Cover all their bases regarding the essentials
        2) Blow a TON of money on nonsense
        3) Fund a few of their Personal whims and desires in the form of projects
        4) Give themselves a raise- though not a large enough raise as they would like!

        …and so they’ll just reach deeper into my pocket. Niiiice.

      • Undereducated

        Um, who are you kidding? The County sells bonds to borrow money. No more balanced than the Federal budget.

        • Josh S

          Err, no. Pretty sure that’s illegal. Bonds are sold to finance specific capital projects, not to be used for operating expenses.

        • ResponsibleDemocrat

          The sell bonds for street maintenance. I mean, come on people.

        • drax

          Capital improvement bonds and annual operating deficits are not the same thing.

          • Undereducated

            No, but they are related. Over borrowing for capital improvements (like buying a house that you can’t afford) contributes to operating deficits (do I pay my visa bill this month or my mortgage?). Except, unlike its citizens, the County can shake down the taxpayers by raising tax rates or increasing assessed values to service its debt. There is no other source of money to pay interest and principle on the bonds other than your and my taxes.

          • drax

            The comparison being discussed was between the federal government and the county, not private citizens and the county.

      • Plunkitt

        It is balanced because they can and do just reach deeper into our pockets ……….not because of any responsible behavior on their part.

        • drax

          And again I remind you that our property tax rates are among the lowest in Northern Virginia.

          The budget is balanced in Arlington because of a combination of responsible government, healthy businesses and expensive homes with high assessments. Not “reaching deeper into your pockets.”

          • Patrick

            So raising the tax rate isnt reaching deeper into constituents pockets? Logic fail.

          • drax

            I’m saying that his claim that it has nothing to do with responsible behavior is false.

            Even with tax increases, our taxes are lower than most of NoVa.

          • Autoexec.bat

            “The budget is balanced in Arlington because of a combination of responsible government, healthy businesses and expensive homes with high assessments. Not ‘reaching deeper into your pockets.’”

            Except that’s demonstrably false. If the budget is balanced, a component of that is reaching deeper into our pockets, as evidenced by the fact that they are raising the tax rate 1.3 cents per $100 and the average taxpayer will pay about $200 more per year. If that’s not deeper into our pockets, what is?

          • drax

            Sigh.

            Overall, taxes in Arlington are low. Therefore, saying that high taxes are the only reason for our balanced budget is false. That is the point.

          • Autoexec.bat

            No, the point is that you said the County is not digger deeper into our pockets which is false.

          • drax

            No, I didn’t say that, autoexec.bat.

            Read it again.

          • Josh S

            Well, you can argue about the merits of particular spending items, etc. but based solely on a growing population, growing economy and inflation, one would expect tax revenue to have to rise just to stay in place.
            Grumbling about taxes is only human, no doubt. But given the context of life in Arlington, which is very good, and the fact that the rate is comparatively low, I don’t think there is much room for complaining here.

          • ResponsibleDemocrat

            Tax revenue increases from growing assessments are one thing. That type or organic growth should track symbiotically with government and infrastructure growth. In that way, people and landowners participate and share in the growth. The rising tide floats everybody’s boat. What we have here though is rising assessments, but then the county takes it all back in the form of higher taxes.

            Having to raise assessment and rates, which is what is happening this year, is one indicator of over spending.

          • drax

            “Having to raise assessment and rates, which is what is happening this year, is one indicator of over spending.” – ResponsibleDemocrat

            See, that’s the crux of the issue. It may be a sign that spending is too high, or maybe it’s a sign that taxes were too low. To assume it’s one or the other just inserts your own particular political bias into the answer.

          • John Fontain

            drax said: “It may be a sign that spending is too high, or maybe it’s a sign that taxes were too low. To assume it’s one or the other just inserts your own particular political bias into the answer.”

            Since when is wanting responsible spending something that only one party should desire?

          • drax

            John said: “Since when is wanting responsible spending something that only one party should desire?”

            You’re reading all kinds of things that aren’t there today.

          • ShirliMan

            Unless my math is off, assuming an average assessed value of $550,000, the 1.3 cent increase is an additional $71.50 per year. The average assessed value would have to be over $1.5M to get to a $200 per year increase

          • Autoexec.bat

            @Drax: I just read it again. The furtive hedge is that you didn’t say the budget is balanced “only” because of reaching deeper into my pocket, which I would grant. However, the budget is balanced, at least in part, because the city is reaching deeper into my pocket. If that’s not accurate, how about they forego the tax increase and proceed with the revenues they already have which you appear to assert are already sufficient to balance the budget? Am I wrong?

          • drax

            You’re not wrong. You just went off on a tangent. I was responding to the claim that the county taxes us excessively to fund irresponsible spending. The facts don’t support that claim. That’s all.

          • John Fontain

            Yawn, another repeat of the highly misleading focus on tax rates rather than actual taxes paid per capita. Drax, you are a one trick pony.

          • drax

            If tax rates don’t matter, why are you here talking about the tax rate increase, John? Have you looked at actual taxes paid per capita, and found that they are higher or lower than previous years, and called for them to be adjusted accordingly? If not, go do that and get back to us. This entire discussion is about the tax RATE increase that just happened.

          • John Fontain

            “If tax rates don’t matter, why are you here talking about the tax rate increase, John?”

            Sorry, but I haven’t once mentioned tax rates so far in this thread.

            “This entire discussion is about the tax RATE increase that just happened.”

            A change in the tax rate changes the amount of absolute taxes paid per capita. In other words, it is simply a means to an end. I think it is funny that you always try to put the focus solely on tax rates (to the exclusion of actual taxes paid per capita). I can’t for the life of me figure out why a taxpayer would promote doing such a thing.

          • drax

            Yes, John, you haven’t mentioned tax rates on this thread. That’s the point.

            This article was about tax rates. The discussion was about tax rates.

            Tax rates measure what proportion of your wealth goes to taxes. Taxes paid per capita doesn’t tell you that. We don’t pay flat taxes. We pay based on wealth. The reason we may pay more in taxes than someone else is because we are wealthier.

            You don’t think Mitt Romney pays too much in taxes because he pays more than you, do you? Yet, by a per capita measure, he does.

            But hey, since you asked, let’s look at what we pay per capita compared to the national average, based on my rough calculations which you’re welcome to verify:

            Arlington: $4,816
            National: $6,732

          • Suburban Not Urban

            Not sure where you got your $6732 number. That seems a little ridiculous when the avg home price in the US is around $300,000. A much more likely number is $1,917 for the US Median Real Estate Taxes paid from
            http://interactive.taxfoundation.org/propertytax/

            Which means we pay more the double.

          • John Fontain

            drax first said: “If tax rates don’t matter, why are you here talking about the tax rate”

            drax then said: “John, you haven’t mentioned tax rates on this thread. That’s the point.”

            I’m not sure how I’m supposed to have a reasoned discussion with stuff like this.

          • drax

            PER CAPITA revenue. NOT per home.

            Here’s my source:

            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=602

            For Arlington I divided our budget by our population.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            I think you miss understood the table – if I’m reading it right, the $6K is combined state and local revenue – you’d have to add the arlington # and the va state # together to get a comparable #.

          • Josh S

            I doubt you are actually unaware of why the tax rate is more important than the actual taxes paid.

            Nevertheless—-

            The board sets the tax rate. They don’t set actual taxes paid. Thus complaining to them about actual taxes paid is useless. The actual tax paid encompasses things over which they have no control, including things such as – you deciding to put an addition on your home. This is something that will raise your total taxes paid (or should), but it’s a decision you made on your own. If the economy tanks, this puts downward pressure on sales prices, which should affect your assessment which would lead to lower total taxes paid. Again, completely out of the hands of the county board.

            This is really a simple distinction.

          • John Fontain

            I swear this is an exact repeat of a discussion of this issue from a month or two ago.

            The county knows what the tax base (i.e. aggregate property values) will be and they set their rate based on the tax base so as to collect the amount of revenue they want. It’s as simple as that.

            It is completely disingenuous, not to mention laughable, of you to pretend that the county government doesn’t have control over how much tax they collect.

          • Zoning Victim

            And again, I remind you that parroting that statement over and over again won’t change the fact that we still pay more money that those other locations with lower tax rates.

          • Josh S

            And why is that?

          • Zoning Victim

            Kind of a wierd question.

          • Suburban Not Urban

            And again I’ll remind you that no property taxes are not the lowest, the contribution in dollars not some irrelevant percentage per family is higher than most jurisdiction.

          • drax
  • CrystalMikey

    Very cool idea…though did a couple of the classes mistakenly receive the red shirt memo?

  • Taxpayer

    Before the County gives anyone a raise, I want ALL of Columbia Pike repaved and restored to a passable condition for a road in one of America’s 10 Richest Counties.

    Vote ‘em out!

    • John Fontain

      The horrible condition of the Pike isn’t so bad as long as you think of the potholes and uneven paving as urban off-roading.

      • JamesE

        I’m getting my car raised 4 feet and putting on 30 inch off road tires just to drive on it.

        • John Fontain

          Don’t forget the roll bars!

      • Plunkitt

        It is part of the “vibrant” urban experince that the board is so fond of refeing to !!!

    • KalashniKEV

      They like it like that. It reminds them of home.

      • WeiQiang

        Who is them?

        • KalashniKEV

          Residents of Columbia Pike.

          • WeiQiang

            So, they have bad roads in Ohio & Indiana … Oregon & South Carolina?

          • KalashniKEV

            *whistling*

          • WeiQiang

            Still don’t get your point. Them that’s living in all the new development along Columbia Pike likely expect good roads. Even the folks who moved here from OH, IN, OR & SC. I get the point about the part of the road near Dinwiddie. I used to live in Columbia Forest on Dinwiddie … then again, I was born in DC and as a “them”, the streets are better than DC but I still expect good roads.

          • FrenchyB

            Or Alexandria?

    • BreakPause02

      Where is Columbia Pike in poor shape? I’ve been on it a few times, and I haven’t noticed the poor road locations. Maybe someone can say between __ and __ streets? I want to check it out.

      • Answer Guy

        Dinwiddie and Wakefield.

        • Josh S

          By the way, that’s about 1/5th of a mile. The portion of Columbia Pike in Arlington is about 2.5 miles.

  • DSS10

    FWIW: Swanson did not let students out to see the shuttle. At HB Woodlawn students with free periods were told to remain inside.

    • John Fontain

      Re: HB, that’s because they didn’t want all the students going out and lighting up (if you know what I mean).

    • Josh S

      That’s just cruel.

    • s.arl

      This comment about HB is absolutely untrue. An announcement was made letting them know it was happening and encouraging them to go see.

      • DSS10

        Not according to my son and his friends.

        • lurker

          My son heard the announcement about the opportunity to go out to see Discovery. What was NOT allowed was going on the ROOF to do so. If they wanted to go out DURING a class, it was up to the teacher to decide if it was OK to let the kids go. My son’s math class was not released during the class period, but were able to go out after class ended.

  • Jimmy

    My kindergartener at St. Ann was so excited to see the Shuttle, explaining every little detail to me this morning.

  • Feeling old

    I saw this and said “Wait, that’s STM! But, where’s the painted map on the parking lot?” (use to be top right, by the 3 trees and just outside the playground gates) Anyway, really cute idea and I’m proud that this is where I spent a wonderful 8 years getting a GREAT base education to put me well above the basic entry level at YHS!

    • bobco85

      I miss the map. At first, it was just the outlines, but later they painted it with bright colors (it looked really nice). I, too, am an alum (6 and a half years there), and am really proud that they did something cool like this. It also helps that the diocesan headquarters is located in the tall building next to the school parking lot, as that is how they got this amazing picture!

      • Feeling old

        If 85 has any relation to your birth year, we were likely classmates. :)

        • Elmer

          Congrats to STM. Clever and cute.
          Alum, Class of ’63

        • bobco85

          Yes, I was born in 1985, so we probably were classmates!

          • Feeling old

            Funny… max there were 50 kids in a “class” (if you count 2 rooms per grade at a max of 25 students) so that’s sort of a small world. Nuts, now I want to know who you are. :) Class of ’99 then or above/below?

          • drax

            You both misunderstand and then use the word “class” in the same post.

          • Feeling old

            ? I don’t know that I was thinking it through as much as you…

            Not that I care much, but I meant 50 kids per grade (i.e. graduating class of ’99) with two classrooms per grade. Didn’t really see the distinction between class and grade, but if there is one sorry that apparently offended you. Slow comment day?? Clearly not, because you’ve had plenty to say about everything else so I guess you just like arguments. That’s totally understandable. ::rolls eyes::

          • Elmer

            With a petty comment like that, you’re certainly not the one who should bring up the subject of “class”.

  • ResponsibleDemocrat

    Let me get this straight, at the last minute, after all public comment sessions are done, the board raises taxes 160% beyond what the county manager recommended in her extensively researched and vetted budget. The new Arlington Way, folks.

    • John Fontain

      Attention citizens: You may think we are here to serve you, but in reality you are here to fund us.

      Sincerely,

      The County Board

    • KalashniKEV

      It’s been this way for a long time. I found the response quite ridiculous to my comment that “These local democrat politicians are the most corrupt in the nation.”

      It’s true.

      What’s more sad is that people will vote for them every time, no matter how ridiculous they become- ref: the walking embarrassment that is Jim Moran.

      • drax

        How can they be the most corrupt if ALL government is corrupt like you say, Kev?

        • KalashniKEV

          They are the MOST corrupt.

          (Reading comprehension ownz you…)

          • drax

            Convenient. How much is MOST, Kev? 90%?

          • KalashniKEV

            again… reading fail.

            Not “most…”

            but “THE most”

          • WeiQiang

            Disagree. There is nothing to support your contention and plenty contradict it.

          • WeiQiang

            Seriously? KEV has his own definition of ‘most’ and ‘corrupt’ … and you’re asking for clarification. Good luck with this line of questioning. *getting popcorn to watch*

          • drax

            I know. I don’t expect reality.

          • Josh S

            I remember back when I thought Kev was actually a contributor to the discussion here. Obnoxious and possessing of beliefs that I completely disagreed with, but at least capable of making reasoned statements. Now I seriously doubt his ability to construct a cogent argument about anything except guns.

          • drax

            “I remember back when I thought Kev was actually a contributor to the discussion here. ”

            You’ve been around longer than me, apparently.

          • KalashniKEV

            9:46AM, homey.

            You can’t handle the truth.

          • WeiQiang

            Homey? “Homely”, maybe.

            OK, so which is “the”, which is “most”, or which is “corrupt”? 1), 2), 3) or 4) ?

          • KalashniKEV

            You guys confuse the heck out of me…

            Do you disagree with the statement:

            “These local Democrat politicians are the most corrupt in the nation.”

          • WeiQiang

            Disagree. There is nothing to support your contention and plenty contradict it.

          • Jay

            “These local Democrat politicians are the most corrupt in the nation.”

            Absolutely disagree with that statement, and anybody who agrees simply has no sense of perspective. Even taking every complaint about Arlington’s local government at face value (which I do not), every local government I’ve encountered is far worse than these folks; both Republican and Democrat. Pick almost any area in NJ, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Louisiana, PG county, Baltimore, and these are just the ones with which I’ve had some very minimal contact.

            As far as taxes go, go down almost every town’s tax rate in NJ–and there are a lot of very rich towns that are quite comparable to Arlington–and you’ll find almost every tax rates is double or triple Arlington’s. And the state taxes aren’t exactly more generous (there is no personal property tax though, so I guess that’s helpful). The complaints on this board make it seem like you’re surrendering your first-born to live here; in reality, almost all of the rest of the country is far more profligate with its spending relative to its tax base.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      To quote Sam above:

      “For those that don’t read the links; there was this at the bottom of the Post article which describes why it is 1.3 cents versus 1 cent.

      Minutes before the issue of a pay raise for elected officials came up, the board was grappling with an unwelcome surprise from the Virginia legislature that could cost $1.9 million. Under Virginia law, public employees must contribute 5 percent of their pay to the Virginia Retirement System. Most school districts picked up the cost for their employees because it was less expensive than giving raises, Hynes said.

      But last week, the legislature required schools to offset that cost and mandated a raise for school workers, effectively about 1.2 percent after deductions are taken. The state, however, would not pay for the raise but is requiring counties and cities to cover the cost out of local tax dollars, Hynes said.

      County board members, who learned the details Monday night, agreed to add three-tenths of a cent to the tax rate to cover the costs. If the action is overturned, the money will go into a contingency fund.”

      • Zoning Victim

        $1.9M / 200,000 (the number of homes in Arlington) = $9.50 per house.

        1.3 cent per $100 of assessed value increases the average homeowner’s tax bill by $200.

        The state law costing Arlington County an extra $1.9M this year doesn’t even begin to validate the tax increase.

        It’s not 1.3 cents versus 1 cent, the CM’s proposal was for a .5 cent raise in taxes.

        • ShirliMan

          “1.3 cent per $100 of assessed value increases the average homeowner’s tax bill by $200″

          How are you getting that? The assessed value would have to be over $1.5M. Assuming an average assessed value of $550,000…

          ($550,000 / 100) * .013 = $71.50 or
          $550,000 * .00013 = $71.50

          • ShirliMan

            OK, I see now I read the Wash Post article too fast, and was focused more on the 1.3 cent increase. The 1st paragraph does say the avg homeowner’s tax would increase by $200. But I see they are also taking into account the increase in assessed value. But still sounds like an exaggeraton.

            Also, the article states “County Manager Barbara Donnellan had recommended a tax increase of a half-cent in February, which would have pushed the average homeowner’s county tax bill to $6,645″ If 2011 tax rate is 95.8 cents per $100, adding a half cent gets you to 96.3 cents. To get to an average tax bill of $6,645, the average assessed value would have to be $690.000. Doesn’t that seem like a high average assessed value?

          • Zoning Victim

            Yeah, that seems extremely high. To correct my numbers, Arlington claims that “detached homes, condominiums and townhouses — increased 1.8%, from an average value of $510,200 to $519,400″ and there should be around 108,000 housing units in Arlington according to their estimates. It may not be right, but here is how I do the math:

            Total assessed value:
            108,000 * $519,000 = $56,052,000,000

            Number of $100′s of assessed value
            $56,052,000,000 / 100 = $560,520,000.00

            Total amount of tax increase on homeowners
            $560,520,000.00 * .013 = $7,286,760

            Tax increase per housing unit:
            $7,286,760 / 108,000 = $67.47

            Tax increase over CM’s proposal:
            $7,286,760 * (1.3 – .5) = $5,829,408.00

            I’m still not sure how a $1.9M dollar surprise expense causes a $5.8M tax increase on top of a proposed $1.4M increase. I’m hoping I just screwed up the math (again).

            References:
            http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/cphd/planning/data_maps/pirs/pir58/pdf/pir58.pdf
            http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/ava/arlington-property-values-up-6-222795.aspx

    • drax

      Yes, because of a last-minute unfunded mandate from the state. Read the whole thread, and complain to Richmond, not the county.

      • Patrick

        That caused an increase of 0.3 cents. How do you explain the remaining 0.5 cents above what was recommended by the county manager?

        • drax

          I explain it by the Board deciding to raise it by a little more than the county manager recommended. I don’t know why; I wasn’t there. I don’t consider it to be scandalous though or a betrayal of “the Arlington Way.”

          • ACDC

            Oh it is quite in keeping with the “Arlington Way” !!!

          • riley

            I am surprised the 6.6% increase on assessments from last year was not enough to cover all this extra spending.

  • lurker

    For the record, H-B Woodlawn students & staff DID go out to the field to watch the shuttle pass by. Teachers allowed students to go out to see the fly-by when class was being held, and at 10:15, when there was NO class being held, anyone who wanted to could go out to see the subsequent fly-bys.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Seems half the county schools used the opportunity to have a fire drill. Any school administrators that did not get there students outside in such perfect weather to watch history fly by should be fired.

  • CW

    What is with comments awaiting moderation? Did I do something wrong?

    • JamesE

      certain words trigger it I believe

    • John Fontain

      You look like a hot mess this morning. As a result, Arlnow is probably worried you’ll say something you’ll regret later.

      • CW

        I just couldn’t say no to all those tequila shots last night!

  • The Market Will Bare All

    While we have Sam as a commenter on this thread, can we pin him down on the hours of his deli?

    • nom de guerre

      Karzai is now handling all public relations issues for Sam’s Corner.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list