That time of year has rolled around once again. For the next four weeks, the Arlington Sun Gazette drops its Highs & Lows to bring you endorsements of candidates and issues on the general election ballot. This week, we’ll focus on the four county bond referendums.
On Nov. 2, voters will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on four separate items:
* $75.395 million for local parks and recreation, including $45 million to start development of the North Tract recreation site.
* $35.944 million for transportation and community infrastructure projects, including Neighborhood Conservation projects.
* $18.536 million for Metro funding.
* And $78.128 million for school funding, including funds to build a new Washington-Lee High School.
In general, we believe these bond issues are well-crafted and reasonable. The Metro and Neighborhood Conservation bonds in particular show no cause for prevaricating.
The school and parks/recreation bond issues, however, do give the voters some things to think about.
In the school bond, the bulk of the proposed spending is for a new Washington-Lee High School, to be built on the same site as the existing school, which would later be torn down. It has been argued by some, at times persuasively, that the existing high school is hardly in need of replacement. You should look at the issue for yourself and decide.
In the recreation bond, much of the funding will be used as the first payment for the huge North Tract recreation complex, to be built north of Crystal City. While there is no question that more recreation facilities are needed in Arlington, critics have pointed out that this is not a prime location (it’s a long way from most of North Arlington) and has the potential to be a runaway financial drain on county coffers if it doesn’t attract crowds.
In the final analysis, we believe both construction of a new high school and development of North Tract into a recreation center are prudent uses of the public’s funds. And, from all we have heard and seen, the new bond funding won’t jeopardize Arlington’s coveted AAA/AAA/Aaa bond ratings, a sign of the county’s fiscal health.
Therefore, we encourage Arlington voters to SUPPORT all four county bond referendums in the Nov. 2 election. They are a wise investment in our community’s collective future.