ARLINGTON COUNTY'S ballot next Tuesday includes a contest for one seat on the county board and five bond-issue questions. For the board seat, incumbent Ellen M. Bozman deserves re-election, over challenger Robert E. Harrington, on her long record of thoughtful, vigorous efforts for neighborhood and school improvements and sensible local spending. An independent running with Democratic backing, Mrs. Bozman has been a strong advocate of open government, having questioned overly secretive decision-making by the board's three-member GOP majority. Mr. Harrington, a Republican, defends that record, which includes withholding for four days last August news that the majority had decided to fire County Manager Vernon Ford. Though Mr. Harrington has repeatedly pointed to taxes as the central issue, there is little evidence that he would address it with Mrs. Bozman's expertise and caution.

The issue this year is not partisan control of the county board, for the Republicans will continue in the majority next year. By returning Mrs. Bozman, Arlingtonians can retain her valuable knowledge of local, regional and state governmental relationships, as well as her keen sense of what constitutes balanced development.

Sensible management calls for a vote "YES" for all five bond proposals: 1) sidewalks, curbs, gutters, streets, highways and neighborhood improvements, $3 million; 2) storm water drainage facilities, $1.8 million; 3) expansion of a county jail that currently doesn't begin to accommodate population growth, $2.1 million; 4) park development and protection, to be continued by the highly respected Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority--a nationally acclaimed program--$3 million; and 5) maintenance and conservation of older residential areas under a private-public financing arrangement begun 17 years ago, $1 million.

These bond issues finance necessary programs and constitute a balanced package of benefits to every section of the county.