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Voters in Arlington won't just be voting for president and Congress this November. In addition to a number of other local races on the ballot, they'll be confronted with four bond issues that run the gamut.
Every two years, Arlington residents are asked to consider tens of millions of dollars worth of bond initiatives to help the local government build schools and roads. This year, voters will be asked to approve borrowing to expand a fiber-optic network, purchase a building next to the courthouse for new county offices, $42 million for a new health and aquatics center at Long Bridge Park, and $13 million to pave 72 miles of roads.
In the past, bond measures have proved popular. The last time a bond question did not pass in Arlington was in 1979.
"There is some dropoff, but it's not really significant, amazingly enough," says Arlington Registrar Linda Lindberg. She says most of the voters who turn out to the polls participate in the voting for the bond issues.
Since county leaders changed the bond initiatives to the even-year elections, which get a higher turnout, all of them have passed — many by large margins. Frank Shaffroth of the Centers on Public Service at George Mason University says voters tend to think of the ballot items as an investment.
"They'll be thinking in the back of their minds, more likely than not, 'Is this something that if and when I decide to sell my home, will make it more valuable?'" says Shaffroth.
Michael Pope is also a reporter with the Connection Newspapers who provides special coverage of Northern Virginia for WAMU 88.5. His story for the Connection can be found at ArlingtonConnection.com.