A Guide to Tomorrow’s Ballot

by ARLnow.com November 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm 2,059 37 Comments

Wondering about the candidates, bond referenda or the proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution on tomorrow’s ballot?

You’re in luck. Arlington County has an excellent guide to the election, with links to a sample ballot, explanations of all three constitutional amendments (1, 2, 3) and all four proposed bonds.

The polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. See a list of poling places here.

  • PurpleFlipFlops

    If I’m in line (and their is one) by 7pm, will I still be able to vote?

    • Yep

      If you are in line at 7 you will be allowed to vote.

  • PurpleFlipFlops


    Maintenance and operational costs should not be debt financed.

  • Katie

    Danke, ArlNow

  • TGEoA

    Vote NO on everything.

    I’m writing ArlNow.com in for CB. Not Scott, but the website.

  • Westover

    Since I was brought up to only carry debt for education, a mortgage, and a reasonable vehicle, I will only be voting for Bond 1 and 4, 2 and 3 get voted down. If we can’t afford Parks and Community Infrastructure right now, we should wait until the economy improves. However, we should take advantage of the great interest rates for education and transportation.

    I just wish we could vote to stop the wasteful and wrong lawsuit the County Board has us in against the the HOT lanes on I-395.

    • TGEoA

      Right on. The parks is a f’ing waste of money. A dog waterfall? You gotta be kidding me.

  • Typical American

    Since I was brought up to take out debt for everything, I will be voting for Bond 1,2,3 and 4. If we can afford anything we want right now, as long as we can make the minimum payment. We should take advantage of the great interest rates!

    I just wish we could vote to build even more wasteful infrastructure like the HOT lanes on I-395.

    • Westover

      Nice sarcasm.

      How are the HOT lanes wasteful IF they do as proposed and proven in many other locations? They should pay for themselves pretty quickly while improveing traffic flow and reduceing emmisions and fuel consumption along I-395. Now if the County Board was opposed to the HOT lanes because they thought that it was more wasteful infrastructure(I don’t think this board has ever seen any infrastructure project as wasteful except monuments to our fallen heros like the WTC Steel at fire station 5) then I might go along with their lawsuit. But they are only opposed to it as a powerplay against Richmond. I mean do you really thing that the lanes are racially biased?

  • Eh?

    Could someone explain the first proposed amendment to the constitution? I understand the basis of it – honor those that served by lowering their taxes. I’m not sure why this is a State issue though. Perhaps this should be made a federal law instead? I’m not looking to cause any arguments, just trying to understand it.

    • Westover

      Because it is state and local taxes they are taling about. Property Tax is not controled by the Federal Government, it is a local tax, however Richmond has a lot of control over what can and can’t be done with it.

      I am a veteran, but I know of way too many guys that have pulled off 100% disabled rateings that can work just fine. I am very iffy on that one, but I gues it only allows the locals to make such a law, does not require it.

      • Eh?

        Thanks. I suppose I actually meant the second proposed amendment (it looks like you knew that anyway).

        I’m inclined to vote no on these amendments, or at least the first two. Sorry, tax cuts just don’t make sense to me right now, especially if it appears that the system can be abused.

      • Greg

        I read that language to mean the property tax exemption is mandatory. The first amendment leaves it to the localities. The second (the one dealing with disabled vets) says the General Assembly must pass a law exempting the property from tax.

  • tuesdayschild

    Why doesn’t arlington now operate some sort of on-line exit poll tomorrow? Totally unscientific, of course.

    • Westover


    • I may try that. But it would be very unscientific. I wouldn’t release the results until the polls close at 7:00.

      • tuesdayschild

        I promise to do take the exit poll just once! I am sure everyone will do the same! Right guys? I am curious to see how the blog viewers voted, as compared to the county at large.

  • Runaway Train

    Bonds always pass, that’s an unfortunate reality. Residents check yes without even thinking about the debt incurred. Don’t forget the property tax rate increase to 96.5 cents, a 9% increase. Are residents prepared for another similar increase in 2012?
    It would be great just to see one of the four bonds get rejected. I am voting yes for the education bond and no on the others.

    • Zoning Victim

      Why vote yes on the education bond? It’s still just a debt incurred because the County Board can’t be fiscally responsible. We’ve already paid for the children of Arlington County to be educated.

  • anon

    I work for the Arlington Public Schools and I haven’t seen a pay scale increase in 2 and a half years and they all but took away our 403(b) contribution matching. I’m really not feeling so inclined to vote for a doggie waterfall. Maybe after they give APS employees our COLA pay at least!

    • AllenB

      My understanding is that what the county pays for debt service has no impact on your raises at schools. The schools budget is determined by the revenue sharing agreement. If you have a problem getting no raise, take it up with the school board and the superintendent.

    • Zoning Victim

      Federal workers have not seen a COLA increase in two years, either. Somehow they keep saying that the cost of living hasn’t increased.

      • Rover

        This is a practice a lot of the local governments and local government supported agencies are currently doing. No COLAs and no merit raises. They cite “the economy” and point at each other and say “see, nobody is doing it”. Hogwash. It is nearly criminal, if you ask me.

        Of course, they would counter with “At least you have a job.” Maybe that is the point.

        • anon

          Not giving COLA barely seems legal! I might have to move out of my apartment pretty soon because guess what: The cost of living keeps going up! On top of it all, I’m now paying for grad school and our newly increased (just like every year) insurance premiums through APS. Can’t we get a break? And they wonder why people leave the teaching profession….

          • TGEoA

            It’s a free country. Change professions.

  • shirley

    absurd to give real estate tax breaks. current veterans could enjoy 60+ years of not making real estate taxes. Thanks for your service. BUT I just don’t see adding more and more tax burden.

    More importantly, these do NOT warrant constitutional amendments.

    • Deb

      Disabled veterans. Totally and permanently disabled. Not all veterans.

      • Rover

        A tax cut for someone else means likely a tax raise for me. Normally, I’d be all over giving money to someone who is going to cost me more. But, in this case, someone has given their ability to earn income to the country presumably. If they are disabled and can’t work, let them be free of the property tax. At least they will have a better chance of staying in a home that way.

  • Deb
  • el fat kid

    Quick note on the bond measures…

    I generally disagree w/ almost every piece of new spending the county government comes up w/. That being said one issue that should be weighed is the ridiculously low interest rate arlington gets when issuing bonds – basically we’re making money by simply borrowing money, to a point.

    And quick refute to Zimmerman’s point at the debate – the AAA rating is not due to the county’s sound fiscal management, though that plays a small part. Arlington is a unique economic environment that has proven itself virtually recession proof.

    I’m not suggesting to vote for any or all the bond measures, i’m just suggesting that people keep in mind that it’s not a large or expensive debt for the county to take on. They might spend too much as it is or you might have some issues w/ how they’re spending it, but unless they squander this particularly poorly, the economics of borrowing here make sense…

    • shirley

      the bond rating is also a form of collusion.
      arlington and the agencies are in bed with each other to a sense. much like people with good credit scores get better mortgages. Arlington knows what the agencies look for and makes sure those things are in place.
      and we pay everything off early.
      BUT our per person bonding debt is reaching the maximum allowable.

      • el fat kid

        the black helicopters are coming! hide yo’ kids! buy gold! scream and shout!

        there’s nothing wrong w/ maximizing your bond rating… or credit rating. that’s what you’re supposed to do! i find it hard to believe Arlington is misleading and duping the bond rating companies into a false score.

        per person debt is reaching maximum allowable? as far as…? AAA rating? some legal limit? certainly not the maximum available or even that burdensome of a debt. Debt, especially low interest debt, is an extremely useful economic tool.

        • NorthAdams

          no, no black helicopters from me,

          yes, it is okay for the county to work with the agencies. I want Arlington to be able to check off all the answers correctly and they do. They strive to make sure that they meet all the criteria of the rating agencies. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Who are the rating agencies to decide what is best for Arlington Citizens? The agencies decide was is best for the AGENCIES. SOOO Arlington wants to keep their AAA rating they need to issue more debt and show that they can properly manage it because that is what the agencies WANT. BUT Citizens of Arlington should WANT the County to be debt free.

          As for the DEBT RATIO — I’m sorry, but your flip remark is just that. The County Board has an adopted policy about how much debt payments can be as a percent of the operating budget. And it is limited to 10% of operating expenses. SO if REVENUE DROPS then we run the risk of going over the 10%.

          The County Board also has a policy of ratio of TAX PAYMENT supported Debt and the value of taxable real estate in the County (I think it is 4%)

          AND Last the Board has a policy of:
          Ratio of Tax supported Bonds to Resident Per Capita Income (6%)

          SO, YES, it is important how much debt that there is per person and taxes. I believe we are at the maximum if these bonds get approved.

          • el fat kid

            North Adams/(Terry?)…

            Once again – This is not myspace and your use of caps makes your writing appear as though you’re a thirteen year old raving about justin bieber.

            what was my flip remark on debt ratio? the reason i asked about the limit is b/c i don’t know county rules on that stuff. 10% is arbitrary…and more based in politics than economic policy.

            “AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. Who are the rating agencies to decide what is best for Arlington Citizens? The agencies decide was is best for the AGENCIES. SOOO Arlington wants to keep their AAA rating they need to issue more debt and show that they can properly manage it because that is what the agencies WANT”

            1) are you Antoine Dodson?

            2) you clearly have no idea how the bond market works.

        • Zoning Victim

          Yeah, just look at what a great $14 trillion tool it has been at the Federal level.

          • el fat kid

            debt is a complicated issue. i won’t begin to try and tackle the 13.6 trillion in national debt, a majority of which was run up under “conservative” Presidents. However, wisely borrowing to invest in something with a high return should obviously be a good thing. Just as a small business often runs a surplus inventory on credit or you borrow money to buy a house.

            When you have interest rates around 2%, a depressed labor market (relative to previous years) your ability to get a net positive ROI is pretty good. And the funny thing about public debt, especially when you are paying such a low interest rate, is it tends to virtually disappear. For instance after from 1941-1948 the deficit skyrocketed but our national debt as a percentage of GDP shrunk. This might seem counterintuitive but that’s just one of the wonders of economics if you ever care to study it.

  • Bluemont John

    Question: If the bonds are voted down, will that make it more likely that the property tax rate will be raised (or that it will be raised faster) to cover the expenses, because the Board won’t cut the spending?


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