Fairfax County's proposed $74.87 million school bond issue, the largest in county history, won a surprisingly easy victory in yesterday's referendum. Sale of the bonds will finance construction of one high school and five elementary schools.
County School Board chairman Mary E. Collier said approval of the bond issue will mean "we'll be able to meet the needs in the growth areas of the county at least for the next three years and that we'll be able to keep up in the older parts also."
In Prince William County, a $20 million road bond issue was defeated by a 3 to 2 margin. The proposed bond issue, the largest ever in the county and the first targeted for road improvements, was intended to supplement state road funds and alleviate traffic jams in the fast growing county.
"Taxpayers are saying that we pay taxes to the state and we look to the state to solve this problem," said Kathleen K. Seefeldt, the Democratic chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. "We need to invite the [state] General Assembly back to Northern Virginia and put them in a Northern Virginia rush hour."
Two other Fairfax bond questions -- one to provide older sections of the county with $20 million in neighborhood improvements and the other to apply $15 million for storm drainage improvements -- were leading by large margins and seemed headed for victory.
In Arlington County, four bond issues totalling nearly $30 million passed easily. The Arlington bonds will raise $13 million to help fund Metrorail's expansion, $6.8 million for community conservation projects, $6.1 million in street and highway projects and just over $4 million for park land acquisition and development. Each of the bond questions passed by wide margins.
Loudoun County voters approved two bond issues worth about $13 million and earmarked for library construction and renovation and improvements in the county's solid waste landfill system. With all 30 precincts in the county reporting, the two bond issues passed by a margin of about 3 to 2.
Virginia voters also approved by overwhelming margins two state constitutional amendments that had encountered little opposition. One would require a balanced state budget, which is a matter of fiscal tradition in Virginia anyway.
The other would provide for local officials to be elected or appointed to vacancies in the offices of mayor and board chairman. Some jurisdictions have had to fill vacancies from the outside because there is no provision in the state constitution for succession by persons who are already officials.
In Falls Church, voters defeated a charter amendment to consolidate the city's financial operations under the city manager, which would have eliminated the offices of treasurer and commissioner of revenue.
The Fairfax school bond issue is earmarked for building a $43.2 million, 2,000-student high school at Braddock Park and five new grade schools throughout the county, as well as improving 21 other school buildings.
The bond issue was opposed by a group of Fairfax citizens who contended that the $6.5 million proposed in the school bond issue to build gymnasiums and music rooms in 13 elementary schools neglected the schools' more comprehensive renovation needs.
The Prince William road bond proposal was opposed by a loose knit but vocal group of citizens. Their principal objections were that the $20 million bond issue would increase real estate taxes in the county without substantially improving Prince William's traffic situation.