The County Board has issued guidance for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and left all options on the table.
In other words, property owners should prepare for their real estate taxes to go up. The Board also began to lay the groundwork for a tax on plastic bags and cigarettes. This will all be done in the name of COVID-19.
However, the Board is prioritizing funding to do two things that are completely unrelated to fighting the impacts of the virus.
First, Board Members signaled they going to fund Rank Choice Voting in local elections. The question is of course, why? Outside of John Vihstadt’s wins in 2014, Democrats have not seen a race where their candidate fell below 60% let alone 50% in recent memory. This is something that is not only unnecessary, but at the very least could be shelved until a better budget year.
Second, the Board intends to take advantage of a new state law that allows them to prepare to enter into collective bargaining with public employees. While the Board did not put a price tag on this optional item, it is just the tip of the iceberg on additional costs to the county budget moving forward. It will also give future Arlington elected officials less flexibility in the face of a budget crunch like the one we are facing now.
Arlingtonians will have their chance to listen to a presentation by County Manager Mark Schwartz on December 9th. It is the next step in the process wherein the County Board will convince us we have to raise taxes to pay for a “scaled back” budget. But it is clear that not all budget priorities for next year are urgent.
Tax increases and interesting spending priorities are not the only controversial issues to look forward to in 2021. The County Board intends to vote to restrict the ability of homeowners to obtain parking permits. The Planning Commission will receive a presentation at its meeting tonight.
The public is obviously focused on how COVID-19 is impacting them. These times demand restraint and caution from our elected officials, so we should watch what they are doing closely.
Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
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The Alternative Christmas Market is back! At First Presbyterian Church Arlington in Ballston, located at 601 N. Vermont Street, Arlington VA 22203, on Sunday, December 4th from 9:30am to 1:00pm. Parking available.
Vendors and products this year include: 10,000 Villages, Olive Oil Ministry, African Team Ministries, Community Coalition for Haiti, Heifer, African Market Baskets, Café Justo, Thistle Farms, Southwest Indian Foundation, and Together We Bake.
Buy gifts for everyone on your list, and support these great organizations, artisans, and global neighbors. See you there!
(This Community Post was written by the [Arlington Chorale](http://arlingtonchorale.org/) and underwritten by [Embracing Arlington Arts](https://embracing-arlington-arts.org/).
Since the Arlington Chorale returned to in-person singing one year ago, local amateur singers have been signing up for auditions in unprecedented numbers. “Thirty of our current members joined within the last year,” says Ingrid Lestrud, Artistic Director. “Many of them have recently moved to Arlington, and they want to join a community. Chorale members get to sing beautiful music and meet a diverse group of people who love singing as much as they do!”
The singers are busy preparing their December 10 concert, Christmas Joy! Featuring John Rutter ‘s Magnificat and Kirke Mechem’s _Seven Joys of Christmas_ , audiences will hear familiar Christmas carols, as well as beautiful music with hints of tango, musical theatre, and jazz. The singers will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra of local professional players, and the concert will highlight the talents of soprano Helena Colindres. Members of the Chorale’s outreach group, the Youth Community Council, and select singers from the Chorale will be singing Christmas carols outside the venue as audience members arrive. After the performance, everyone is invited to join the singers downstairs for a reception with light refreshments. It’s a special community event you won’t want to miss! Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under 12 available here. Please join the Arlington Chorale on **Saturday, December 10 at 5:00 PM at Westover Baptist Church!**
NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.
Outstanding Young Artist