The Right Note is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.
The County Board is scheduled to vote on the budget and tax rates later today. Sadly, the budget documents have not been posted to the county website as of the writing of this column. At best, the public will have just a handful of hours to review the final FY 2022 budget before it is adopted.
If you do not believe mistakes can happen when a budget is adopted, an accidental pay raise for County Board members was published in the adopted materials last year. County staff rushed out to say it was not supposed to be there and that the pay raise was not funded by the budget itself.
Nonetheless, it is time for the County Board to adopt a 24 hour rule to vote on any matter. If the proposed final budget is not published 24 hours prior to the vote, it cannot be adopted. Nothing would stop an open amendment process where Board members made line item changes if last minute adjustments were necessary. A 72 hour rule would be better, but the way they are going about it now really only leaves open the possibility of critiquing the final product after it has already passed.
On Saturday, the County Board approved $2 million in Neighborhood Conservation projects which will be funded by borrowing. This program was created in 1964 to give neighborhoods the opportunity to recommend improvement projects to their elected officials. Sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, signs, and other beautification ideas can percolate all the way from an impromptu front porch coffee to fruition.
Anyone who has been through the process can tell you that the handful of projects that are ultimately funded often take years to get across the finish line. Judging by the dates on the plans on record, many neighborhoods have given up on it altogether.
Contrast that the Arlington County Board’s recent decisions to grant County Manager Mark Schwartz $2 million each year as part of the closeout process to spend without County Board authorization.
That’s right: the Manager has an annual slush fund which is equivalent to projects that go through an exhaustive review process to benefit neighborhoods.
While some of us may prefer that 100% of closeout funds be allocated toward reducing the property tax burden, the County Board has largely ignored this plea for years. So for closeout 2021, maybe neighborhoods should ask the Board to take the $2 million County Manager slush fund and apply it to the next round of Neighborhood Conservation projects instead.
Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Police swarmed Arlington’s Halls Hill neighborhood today after a caller falsely reported a shooting inside of a house. The incident happened along the 1800 block of N. Dinwiddie Street, in…
A local chainsaw artist made his buzzy debut on a new reality TV show last night. Ashton Heights native Andrew Mallon is a contestant on the Discovery competition show “A…
Police are investigating a pair of so-called “mob” assaults by groups of teens. Both occurred Friday evening along separate sections of Langston Blvd. It’s unclear whether there’s any connection between…
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in…
INF Care Virtual Concierge is a new and inviting option to remote assistance that leverages the best of what technology should encompass with quality interaction.
For the busy individual that needs a way to reduce stress and tackle caring for an older family member that lives alone.
For the maturing adult that just needs help with everyday tedious tasks, connectivity, and access to data on their everyday habits to pinpoint areas that need more attention.
Looking for a more convenient way to work out?
On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.
We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.
Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!
Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!
Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them