by ARLnow.com — January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm 4,570 72 Comments

The new 2012-2013 Arlington County vehicle decal has been revealed.

The winner of this year’s vehicle decal design contest was announced at this afternoon’s County Board meeting. Out of a group of four design finalists, a decal with a photo of the Pentagon memorial received the most votes.

The decal, entitled “Silent Memories,” was designed by Jeppe Callander, an exchange student from Norway who’s attending Wakefield High School. Callander said he originally took the photo of the memorial to show his mother.

Arlington residents cast nearly 2,000 votes cast in the annual contest. About 155,000 decals will be mailed to vehicle owners this summer.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 20, 2012 at 10:30 am 2,034 27 Comments

There are only two days left to cast a vote for which 2012-2013 decal you think should grace Arlington’s car windshields later this year.

Every year, high school students enter original artwork or photos into the Vehicle Decal Design Competition. A panel whittles down the entries to four finalists.

About 155,000 Arlington residents display the decals to prove payment of that vehicle’s personal property tax.

The four finalist designs, along with descriptions written by each student, are available online for viewing and voting. All votes must be submitted by noon on Sunday.

by ARLnow.com — December 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm 4,832 63 Comments

(Updated on 12/13/11) The four finalists for Arlington’s 2012-13 vehicle decal design contest have been revealed.

The annual contest challenges Arlington high school students to submit an original photograph or artwork to appear on the county’s vehicle decals. More than 150,000 decals are mailed to vehicle owners in Arlington each year. Those decals must be displayed on the windshield as a sign that vehicle’s personal property tax has been paid.

A “Citizen’s Panel” selected the four finalists (above) after a call for entries in October.

All of this year’s entries are photographs taken in south Arlington. Two of this year’s finalists are photographs of the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial. Another showed an honor guard statue at the Air Force Memorial. The fourth was a nighttime photograph of a Ferris wheel at the Arlington County Fair.

Members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite decal design through the Arlington County website, starting on Thursday Tuesday, or via the Sun Gazette newspaper. More information about the entrants and the contest is available from the Sun Gazette.

by ARLnow.com — October 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm 3,153 39 Comments

The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office is asking for entries for its 2012-2013 Vehicle Decal Design Competition. The contest, now in its eighth year, is open to all high school students who live in Arlington.

“The competition will give you the opportunity to practice your design skills as well as participate in the workings of local government,” the Treasurer’s Office said in a letter to high school students. “The winning decal design will be displayed on the windshields of over 155,000 vehicles in Arlington, and will become part of the Arlington decal exhibit located at the county administrative building.”

Students are asked to submit their design as a JPEG file, either via email or via CD. The design must be in a resolution no less than 300 DPI. The final decal measures 1.5 inches by 2.25 inches. More detailed instructions are available on the county’s web site.

Entries for the contest must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Four finalists will be chosen by a “Citizens’ Panel” and will be announced in the Sun Gazette newspaper on Thursday, Dec. 8. Sun Gazette readers will then vote for a winning design, which is expected to be announced on Jan. 24, 2012.

The finalists will each receive a $500 savings bond.

This year’s competition winner was “Hume, Sweet Hume,” by Wakefield High School student Maya Giacobbe.

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2011 at 9:45 am 3,403 27 Comments

The payment deadline is fast approaching for Arlington’s vehicle personal property tax and for installment two of the county’s real estate tax.

Both tax bills are due next week on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

In addition, the Arlington County Treasurer’s office is reminding residents that the 2011-2012 vehicle decals must be displayed on windshields by Nov. 15.

“If residents would like more information (including payment options, information about the Taxpayer Assistance Program, etc.), they may visit www.arlingtonva.us/treas or call 703-228-4000,” a Treasurer’s office representative wrote. “Residents may also contact the Treasurer’s office by emailing [email protected].”

by ARLnow.com — March 4, 2011 at 10:23 am 11,339 210 Comments

If you thought Arlington’s vehicle tax isn’t enforced, think again. As Michael Lee Pope reports, the Commissioner of Revenue’s office has a team of officers who head out before dawn to track down residents who aren’t paying their taxes.

In neighborhoods like Colonial Village, tax enforcement officers seek out vehicles with out-of-state tags and/or without Arlington registration stickers. They take notes, snap photos and then send letters to the owners, if need be.

The Personal Property Enforcement Program has collected more than $6 million in lost revenue in seven years, according to Ingrid Morroy, the county’s Commissioner of Revenue.

Read Pope’s report in the Arlington Connection or listen to it on WAMU.

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm 2,284 27 Comments

Arlington has a winner in its 2011-2012 vehicle decal contest.

Out of the four design finalists, Wakefield High School student Maya Giacobbe was named the winner for her design, “Hume, Sweet Hume.”

Giacobbe said she chose to design a decal featuring Arlington’s Hume School — the present-day home of the Arlington Historical Society — because “it was one of the first schools in Arlington.”

“I see it every day,” she added.

Nearly 2,700 votes were cast online and by mail between Jan. 12 and Feb. 13. Giacobbe’s design received 906 votes, a plurality.

The tradition of choosing the design via contest open to Arlington high school students began in 2005. Arlington has required some form of a vehicle license or decal since 1949.

The winning design was announced at this afternoon’s county board meeting. Each finalist will receive a $500 savings bond from Wachovia. The winning design, meanwhile, will appear on more than 155,000 vehicles.

“Vincent van Gogh, in his lifetime, did not achieve such an honor,” noted Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary.

by ARLnow.com — February 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm 1,478 7 Comments

After a week of voting, we’re proud to announce a winner in our first annual Alternative Vehicle Decal Contest.

The winner, with just over a 33 percent of the vote, is the “Parking Ticket Instructions” decal by “Planet Moron.” The “Brown Flip Flops” design is our runner-up, with 28 percent of the vote.

More than 750 people voted in the contest, which pitted five user-submitted parking decal designs against one another. The winner will now receive the high honor and distinction of being known as Arlington’s finest alternative parking decal designer.

(Reminder: This contest was not sanctioned by Arlington County or any other governmental body.)

by ARLnow.com — January 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm 1,104 12 Comments

Last week we announced our first annual Alternative Vehicle Decal contest, to compete with the actual Arlington County vehicle decal contest. We’ve completed the difficult task of narrowing the excellent submissions down to five finalists, and now it’s time to vote.

We’ll keep voting open for a week, and will announce the winner shortly thereafter. The grand prize is the satisfaction of knowing that Arlington picked you as its best alternative vehicle decal designer.

Good luck to all the finalists!

(Just to be clear, this contest is not sanctioned by Arlington County or any other governmental body.)

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2011 at 10:23 am 2,133 61 Comments

Every year, Arlington holds a competition for high school students to design the next county vehicle decal. Voting is currently underway for the 2011-2012 decal contest, with four perfectly adequate designs to choose from.

But what it you’re not a high school student? Why can’t you be in the running for the contest?

Well, that’s where we come in. Today we’re launching our first annual Alternative Vehicle Decal Contest.

So fire up Photoshop and design the most breathtaking or humorous decal you can come up with. Next week we’ll pick a few of our favorites and let everybody vote on them. The winner will receive the high honor of being named the best alternative decal designer in Arlington.

Use the blank decal here as a template, then use our new image upload feature in the comments to display your masterpiece for all to see. Good luck!

(Just to be clear, this contest is not sanctioned by Arlington County or any other governmental body.)

by ARLnow.com — January 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm 3,309 85 Comments

It’s that time of year, again.

Voting has just begun for the county’s 2011-2012 vehicle decal design competition.

Arlington residents will be able to vote for one of four designs selected for the competition. Each design was created by an Arlington high school student.

Voting will take place online between now and Feb. 13. The winner will be announced at February’s county board meeting.

Last year’s winning design showcased a snow-covered bridge over the W&OD Trail. This year, the design finalists include another snowy photo, a photo of the historic Hume School, a photo of the large clock near Courthouse Plaza, and an illustration featuring a bike path and the Rosslyn skyline.

by ARLnow.com — November 12, 2010 at 8:55 am 2,917 72 Comments

Have you been putting off putting your new 2010-2011 county vehicle decal on your windshield? If so, you’ll want to stop to procrastination this weekend.

After Monday, county police will be able to ticket any county resident with an expired sticker.

There was a delay in mailing out the decals this year, but officials told us that would not affect the Nov. 15 display deadline.

by ARLnow.com — September 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm 1,870 34 Comments

At first glance, it does seem pretty suspect. Your used vehicle gets assessed at a value higher than last year, and you have to pay more personal property taxes as a result.

“I always thought one’s car lost value from the time it left the dealer,” a frustrated resident told us in an email. “Not sure how widespread this is, but it’s creating buzz in our neighborhood.”

Actually, it’s fairly widespread. Arlington County bases its vehicle assessments on the National Automobile Dealers Association’s yearly list of vehicle values, which comes out every January 1. This year, the values of many used SUVs, crossover vehicles, trucks and vans went up.

The reasoning behind the increase, says Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy, is that the value of such gas-guzzlers plummeted in 2008 as fuel prices spiked through the roof. Those lower assessments were reflected in last year’s personal property tax bills. But one year later, the prices of big vehicles rebounded as gas prices fell and as manufacturers — in the process of transitioning away from gas-guzzlers — failed to produce enough new SUVs, CUVs, trucks and vans to keep up with demand.

Thus, as supply fell and demand grew, prices for all such vehicles, even used ones, went up last year and are reflected in the higher assessments this year.

“The assessment reflects fair market value,” Morroy said. She added that Arlington is lucky to have “a good mix” of vehicle types, and thus wasn’t hit by the downturn in truck and SUV values as hard as some of Virginia’s rural communities.

Morroy said that any vehicle owner with questions about his or her assessment should call 703-228-3135.

by ARLnow.com — September 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm 2,343 31 Comments

By this time, Arlington residents were supposed to have received about 95,000 115,000 vehicle decals and their accompanying 2011 personal property tax bills. But a problem with the printer has delayed the mailings until next week, throwing into limbo County Treasurer Frank O’Leary’s policy, per state law, of getting the bills to taxpayers 30 days before the October 5 payment deadline.

The printer problem wasn’t confined to Arlington. The same printing company is used by at least one other local jurisdiction, we’re told.

In Arlington, the decals must be displayed by November 15, which will give drivers plenty of time. But meeting the October 5 deadline for paying the tax may be more problematic.

“The county is trying to figure out a way to ensure that people have adequate time to pay their bills before any penalties are imposed,” a county source told ARLnow.com. One possibility is waiving the fees for late payments, up to a certain date. (Update: October 15. See below.)

If you don’t want to wait for the bill in the mail, you can pay your taxes online here.

Hat tip to J.A. for the heads up.

Update at 8:00 p.m. — The county has released a press release.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Defective forms have delayed the mailing of some 115,000 personal property tax bills, Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary said today. The problem also affected the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, all of whom use the same form supplier, Graphic Communications, for their tax bills.

Arlington mailed some 45,000 bills this week, and expects to mail the remaining 70,000 bills next week, O’Leary said. By state law, the bills are required to be mailed no later than 30 days before the deadline for paying them. The County, by ordinance, has established Oct. 5 as the payment deadline for personal property tax.

Due to the delay, the County will only begin to charge penalties on payments received or postmarked after Oct. 15, to ensure ample time for residents to pay their bills.

“It is unfortunate that the bills could not be mailed in a timely fashion this year,” O’Leary said. “We regret this inconvenience for residents and the concern that it has caused.”

O’Leary noted that any additional printing and mailing costs will be borne by the vendor.

“We are glad that a solution has been found that is fair to taxpayers and fair to the County,” said Board Chairman Jay Fisette.

by ARLnow.com — February 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm 1,769 5 Comments

The design for Arlington’s 2010-2011 vehicle decal has been chosen.

Appropriately, considering this winter’s historic snowfall, the design features a snow-covered bridge over the W&OD trail.

The winner was chosen from a pool of 19 designs submitted by local high school students. It will soon be featured on the 155,000 vehicles garaged in Arlington.

The photo for this year’s design was submitted by Providence Smith of Wakefield High School. She said the photo “represents the recreational opportunities [in] Arlington.”

Smith and the three other design finalists, Cynthia Carson and Patricia Murray of Washington-Lee High and Sam Jones of the Potomac School, will each receive a $500 savings bond from Wachovia Bank.

Photos from today’s board meeting, where the winning design was revealed, after the jump.



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