In increasingly tough economic times, Prince George's County voters are being asked in the Nov. 6 general election to authorize the borrowing of $111.4 million to construct or repair roads and parking lots, libraries, public safety facilities, county buildings and facilities at Prince George's Community College in Largo.

The bond questions, which routinely appear every two years and usually are approved, have taken on added importance as the county faces a projected $36 million revenue shortfall from reduced real estate transfer and other tax receipts this year.

Voter approval of the questions would authorize county officials to issue the bonds whenever they choose for projects in the county's 1991-96 capital program. The bond holders would be paid over 15 to 25 years, with the debt service payments coming from the county's annual operating budget.

"They're like apple pie and motherhood," said Roy L. Chambers, a Republican County Council candidate, who confessed to "mixed feelings" about the bond questions. "Some of it sounds good," he said. "But we're in a recession and it could grow worse. We have to pay these bonds off. It'll put more strain on the budget."

Said Lance W. Billingsley Jr., the county's bond counsel since 1985: "To say when tight fiscal times come you don't issue bonds would be very nearsighted . . . . We're talking about belt-tightening, not bankruptcy. We're not talking about a depression. You can't cut off or fail to plan for necessary services completely, even though you may have to scale down some."

Borrowing money through the sale of bonds spreads out over time the cost of capital projects. Bond issues are initiated by the county executive and placed on the ballot after approval by the County Council, which acted favorably on the current proposals last summer.

The proposed bond issues would provide, in rounded numbers, $48 million for transportation, $13 milllion for libraries, $32 million for public safety, $17.5 million for work on other county buildings and $800,000 for the community college.

Voter approval doesn't necessarily mean the bonds will be issued soon, said County Executive Parris N. Glendening. "It's authorization to sell bonds when the county is doing well and the bond market is good," he said. "We've been good fiscal managers. We don't go to the bond market unless we're sure the rates are going in our favor and these are things we can afford."

Debt service currently amounts to $41.5 million, or about 4 percent of the county's current operating budget. . Under state law, the county's indebtedness can rise to 15 percent of the assessable property tax base. Current debt is 2.46 percent.

But some question the wisdom of approving the bond issues. And there is skepticism that officials will respect the results should voters reject the bonds. In the past, county officials have interpreted such rejections as reflecting disapproval of the financing method, not of the projects.

Thus, voter rejection of bond issues to borrow money to build an underground garage in Hyattsville in 1984 and a pedestrian mall in Upper Marlboro in 1982 did not stop the county from proceeding with the projects.

Officials had the county's parking authority borrow the money for the 600-car garage. That bond issuewas not subject to voter approval, although taxpayers are indirectly financing the project through rent the county pays the authority. Most spaces in the garage are reserved for county employees, who park for free. Others pay up to $5 a day for one of the 200 public spaces in the parking facility.

In the case of the mall between the county administration building and the courthouse, the county paid paid for it with cash on hand.

"The executive argued the voters didn't understand," council member Sue V. Mills recalled. "They circumvented the will of the people." But as for the current bond issues for roads, libraries and public safety, she said, "You can't really vote against that . . . . You've got to repair roads."

"Obviously, I support the bond issues," said council member J. Kirwan Wineland. "They are essential to the continuation of vital services to the county and for the improvement of our quality of life."

Unlike the Democrats who support it, the Republicans flatly opposes the bond issue.

"The sad thing is if citizens vote them down, they issue bonds anyway," said Charles W. Sherrin, the Republican candidate for county executive. "We are against the bond issues at this point in time. The general sense of the citizens is they've spent enough. They don't feel they're getting adequate explanations of what the bonding requests are for this year."

Richmond Davis, chairman of the county's Republican Central Committee, explains it this way: "The {bondholders} have to be paid back. By whom? The county taxpayers. It's an indirect form of taxpaying, putting it off-budget. You're engaging in back-door financing because the people don't understand they have to pay at the end of the line, and pay interest as well."

And paying the bondholders takes precedence over other annual expenses, he added. "Other things get cut back," Davis said. "That's the deception."