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Voters to Decide on Four Bond Issues This Fall

by ARLnow.com July 20, 2016 at 10:50 am 0

Outside of one of Arlington's polling locations

As part of its latest Capital Improvement Plan, the Arlington County Board last night approved a new slate of bond referenda that will appear on the ballot this fall.

The county has proposed four bonds for voters to consider. In total the bonds add up to some $315.8 million.

  • Metro and Transportation — $58,785,000
  • Local Parks and Recreation — $19,310,000
  • Community Infrastructure — $98,850,000
  • Arlington Public Schools — $138,830,000

In a board report, county staff detailed the planned use of funds for each bond.

Metro and Transportation:

This proposal will fund a variety of transportation, road, pedestrian enhancement and transit projects across the County. The largest components of this proposal are $30 million for Arlington County’s share of WMATA / Metro’s capital improvement program, and $24 million to fund a portion of the costs for paving local streets and roadways. Proceeds of this proposal will also fund bridge renovation, street lights, transportation systems & traffic signals, as well as the WALKArlington, BikeArlington, Safe Routes to Schools, and Curb & Gutter Missing Links programs. The County Board may reallocate bond funds among the various projects to the extent necessary or desirable.

Local Parks and Recreation:

This proposal will fund various parks improvements and enhancements, as well as $3 million for the Land Acquisition and Open Space Program for strategic park acquisitions. This proposal would also fund the Trail Modernization program, design and planning at Jennie Dean Park and construction at Tyrol Hills Park, and maintenance capital improvements such as playground, courts and other parks infrastructure improvements. The County Board may reallocate bond funds among the various projects to the extent necessary or desirable.

Community Infrastructure:

This proposal will fund a variety of County infrastructure projects. The largest component of this proposal is $46.46 million for the Lubber Run Community Center project. Also included is $12 million of funding for Neighborhood Conservation projects, as well as funding for the Nauck Town Square, planning & design of the Fire Station 8 replacement, renovations & improvements to government facilities in the Court House Complex, renovation of the Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center for additional gymnastics, and a County childcare facility. The Neighborhood Conservation Program provides funding for a variety of neighborhood-identified capital improvement projects including street improvements (sidewalk, curb and gutter, drainage, paving), traffic management and pedestrian enhancements, park improvements, street lighting, recreational facilities, landscaping, and beautification.

It also includes funding of a joint County & Schools parking deck and other improvements at the Thomas Jefferson middle school site due to the construction of a new elementary school, critical systems infrastructure upgrades to 24×7 hour facilities; and facilities maintenance capital improvements, including design and construction of projects including but not limited to roofs, electrical and heating / cooling systems and other facilities infrastructure. The County Board may reallocate bond funds among the various projects to the extent necessary or desirable.

Arlington Public Schools:

This proposal will make funds available for the Arlington Public Schools’ capital improvement program. The proposed bonds will fund the following projects:

  • The new middle school at the Stratford site ($26,030,000)
  • The new school at the Wilson site ($78,400,000)
  • Addition and renovation at the Career Center/Arlington Tech ($12,000,000)
  • Planning for secondary seats at location(s) to be determined ($10,000,000), and
  • Infrastructure capital projects such as HVAC, roofing, etc. ($12,400,000)

The School Board may reallocate bond funds among the various projects to the extent necessary or desirable.

The Board also approved its $3.3 billion 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan Tuesday night. A county press release on the plan, after the jump.

The Arlington County Board today approved a $3.3 billion combined County and Schools 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for fiscal years 2017-2026.

The plan funds County capital projects and infrastructure of $2.8 billion and Arlington Public Schools’ (APS) adopted $510.29 million CIP, for a total of $3.3 billion in planned capital projects and infrastructure investment over the next decade for both County and Schools.

“This plan provides funding to address the challenges posed by the fact that our community is growing,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “We will make strategic investments in our schools, transportation, land acquisition and technology. That means APS will have the resources it needs to build new schools and expand existing ones. We will improve bus service across the County, and build a premium bus service connecting Columbia Pike and the Pentagon City-Crystal City corridor. At the same time, we will invest more in land acquisition, improve customer service by investing in technology and fund the replacement of the aging Lubber Run community Center.”

The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the CIP and to approve additional guidance to the County Manager.

Strategic investments over the next 10 years:

  • Arlington Public Schools: Full support for APS’s $510.29 million plan to address growing enrollment, including full funding of its 2016 $138.83 million referenda request, which addresses capacity expansion.
  • Metro and Transportation: $1.6 billion in extensive investments to ensure safety, accessibility and efficiency for commuters on bike, foot, car and transit over ten years. These include the County’s continued $30 million commitment to Metro over the next two years. 
    • The CIP lays out a plan to fund the recently adopted Transit Development Plan approach for new, modified and expanded bus service over the next decade, including premium bus service that will offer a one-seat ride from the west end of Columbia Pike to Potomac Yard. It also funds the Neighborhood Complete Streets Program and expands the streetlight management plan.
  • Lubber Run Community Center: Planned funding includes $46.5 million in new bonds for design and construction in the 2016 and 2018 referenda for replacement of the County’s aging community center. After the referendum is considered by the voters, the County will undertake, before the end of 2016, a community engagement process on the arrangement of the facility and outdoor amenities on the site.
  • Fire Station 8:  $1.12 million is included in the 2016 referendum to support the design and planning efforts to replace Fire Station 8 at its current location on Lee Highway.  Construction funding is anticipated to be included in the 2018 referenda request.
  • Technology: Provides for a new online payment portal and replacement of the tax assessment and collection system.
  • Neighborhood Conservation: Continues to fund this neighborhood-based program that improves neighborhoods, with $12 million per referenda.
  • Land acquisition: Increases funding over last CIP to $3 million per referenda.
  • Joint County School project: Funding of a parking structure and other improvements at the new elementary school at the Thomas Jefferson site.
  • Longer term projects: Funds the acquisition of the Buck property (a six-acre site on North Quincy Street), and possibility of improvements needed at potential future acquisitions through the Virginia Hospital Center. Invests over the medium-to-long term to meet new public safety technology and regional interoperability requirements. Anticipates planning beginning in 2022 for a community facilities study for the Central Library/Quincy Park area to maximize existing land while preserving and maximizing open space. 

Maintaining existing infrastructure -funding several areas of basic infrastructure:

  • Parks and Facilities: Continues the County’s reinvestment in playgrounds, courts, fields and essential components of buildings such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and roofing systems. Jennie Dean Park design will begin when the Four Mile Run Valley Initiative is complete.
    • Includes funding to expand the gymnastics program at the Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center, and funding for a new program, which provides $1 million every two years to modernize off-street trails.
    • Existing funds for Long Bridge Park will be used to design and construct a reduced aquatics building program and complete the 10.5 acres of park development and esplanade.  Additional funding is included in fiscal years 2023-2024 to plan and design a fourth synthetic field and parking structure at the park.  Funding to build the field and garage will be considered as part of future CIPs.
  • Paving: A $5 million increase in paving over the next two years, bringing the total to $24 million over two years.
  • Water/sewer system infrastructure: Water delivery, sanitary sewer collection and wastewater treatment to provide high quality services and products and stormwater management investments to reduce potential stormwater impacts to public health, safety and property.
  • Technology: Continued re-investment in technology to replace and support basic County functions such as PCs, servers, network capabilities etc., as well as critical public safety equipment including defibrillators, fire alerting system, mobile and portable radios, mobile data computers and fire vehicle refreshment.

Financial Sustainability

The Capital Improvement Plan is within the financial and debt management policies adopted by the Board, which are important to ensuring maintenance of Arlington’s triple-AAA bond ratings.

Public Process

A total of $315.775 million in bonds will be put before voters, in four separate questions. The referenda will be held during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.The County Manager released the Proposed CIP in May 2016 after a public process that included three public forums and more than 430 online comments. Since then, staff provided briefings and answered questions for commissions and committees, and made presentations during five County Board work sessions.The Proposed CIP was posted on the CIP webpage, and the County Board held a public hearing on June 22. The staff report and County Board actions at the July 19 meeting can be found on the County website. Scroll down to Item #57 on the Agenda for the Tuesday, July 19 Recessed Meeting. To read the 2016 bond referenda resolutions and questions, scroll down to Item #58.

Background

Arlington updates its Capital Improvement Plan — a planning document that outlines the County’s long range capital investment objectives — every two years. Proposed capital projects frequently include parks and recreation, government facilities, community conservation, technology, multi-modal transportation systems, Metro and transit, schools, utilities and other capital programs.The County’s Adopted CIP includes referenda amounts requested by the Arlington School Board to be voted on in November.

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