VOTERS IN Fairfax next Tuesday will be asked four questions of intense significance to the entire county. The questions, posing bond issues for schools, roads and correctional facilities, have all been carefully considered and approved by a county government that can hardly be considered loose with money. The most frugal way to finance these basic and necessary projects in Fairfax, with its strong financial record, is through bond issues. Prudent residents may responsibly vote "YES" in all four instances.
School Bonds: $57.2 million. The funds would build five new schools, add to four and renovate five others, mainly to alleviate classroom overcrowding in the growing western part of the county. The school board already has exhausted all reasonable alternatives and has, with the approval of the supervisors, assembled a tight, minimal proposal. Residents of older areas, who have seen schools closed in their neighborhoods, may grumble about building new schools elsewhere. But the growth patterns clearly mandate these projects, and a bond issue is the best approach.
Correctional Facilities. Last year Fairfax voters rejected a bond issue that would have financed renovation and enlargement of the detention center. In urging a vote against it then, we argued that more thought go to alternatives to incarceration. A task force, after a thorough examination, has now recommended something other than mindless jail-packing, and its judgments are embodied in two bond issues:
1. Jail and Work-Release Facilities: $16.2 million--for a three-story, 200-cell addition to the county jail and a 100-bed work-release center to replace the present 30-man facility, which is being converted into secure cells. The steady increase in jail population, mostly people convicted of serious crimes or awaiting trial and denied bail, is directly related to the county's growing population. This proposal represents a sensitive response.
2. Correctional Camp: $7.2 million--for a medium-security correctional camp for up to 100 nonviolent convicts, who would receive vocational training and help operate a small farm to serve county correctional facilities. This is, again, an enlightened corrections proposal, complementing the preceding one.
County Secondary Roads: $30 million. Work would begin on 24 road projects, including at least one in each district, selected for improving access to a Metro subway station, opening up a business area or speeding a now-clogged traffic flow. None of this money, incidentally, would go to the controversial Springfield Bypass and Extension.