Press Club

The Right Note: Take the CivFed Recommendation

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

On Tuesday, the Arlington Civic Federation voted to recommend a 1-cent tax rate reduction to the Arlington County Board. The Board should adopt the recommendation.

The CivFed resolution noted that over the past five years, the average homeowner saw a $1,113 increase in taxes and fees. A 1-cent reduction this year would not cut a homeowner’s tax burden. It would only stop property taxes from increasing quite as much.

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz already recommended a .5-cent rate reduction as part of his budget proposal, which would only lower revenue growth by $3.5 million. Either option would be welcome news to homeowners. In fact, more relief would be even better news.

The CivFed resolution also rightly notes lowering property taxes would relieve some of the upward pressure on the costs of both homeownership and rent.

After years of ramped up tax bills to pay everything from tricycles to bus stops and so much more, surely the Board can find an additional $3.5 million in a nearly $1.2 billion budget when they vote on April 19th.

If the Board is accepting recommendations, designating $3.5 million from closeout funds would certainly do the trick. The Board can also look to the CivFed report which proposed budget reductions to cover the price tag. (The CivFed proposed reductions had not yet been posted on its website.)

And what about the new honorary Poet Laureate position? The decision did catch the attention of a few budget watchdogs who are wondering what the County Board will think of next. But at $1500 a year, not all of which to come out of taxpayer funds, it is a bargain when compared to the now defunct Artisphere or the Signature Theater bailout.

The ARLnow story on the search for our first poetry chief did cause some commenters to audition for the job, including a couple verses written about me. In the spirit of good natured fun, I offer this haiku in response.

Trolley has been nixed.

Taxpayers are rejoicing

gondolas are next.

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