After months of laying the groundwork to increase spending and raise taxes, Board members are set to increase the tax rate by two cents on top of rising assessments. The bottom line for the average Arlington homeowner is we will pay 5% more this year, roughly $400. As a bonus, it is retroactive to January 1st.
The Board could have worked harder to keep that tax increase lower. They didn’t. Despite the line that it gets easier budget wise next year, do not hold your breath that the tax and spending spree will slow down.
As noted in this space last week, the Board is slated to give the DEA an $11.5 million subsidy to stay in Arlington. According to the Sun Gazette, this item will be pulled from the consent agenda to be debated by the Board.
After all the hullaballoo over giving $23 million to Amazon out of the increased tax revenue the retailer is slated to generate, it is quite interesting that the Board attempted to slide the DEA subsidy under the radar. Maybe someone with a microphone will answer the question of what the net benefit to the county will be to keep the agency here.
Speaking of under the radar, as of writing this column, there is still no report available that outlines the compensation plan for county staff. Earlier this year, the Board quickly and quietly approved pay raises for the county manager, county attorney, clerk and auditor with no debate or public notice.
There is no doubt that Arlington’s elected officials and county staff operate in one of the most resource rich communities in the country. The unwillingness of county residents hold the County Board responsible for tax increases at the ballot box allows county officials to redefine what constitutes difficult budget choices and to pay for shiny objects (see Artisphere). It allows them to borrow money for routine infrastructure maintenance, much of which has been put off for too long. Last November, the County Board even granted the County Manager a $2 million slush fund to spend as he sees fit.
Where is the Board Member or county employee who asks “how could we build a budget that spends less?” Where is the commitment to identifying potential savings a thorough and expedited review of programs through a more robust County Auditor’s office?
Unfortunately, the answer to both questions seems to be “nowhere in sight.”
Mark Kelly is a 19-year Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village