Fairfax County voters will be asked to approve $185 million of bonding authority in four different categories when they head to the polls in November.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors agreed to place the bond issues on the ballot, including the unusual step of seeking $30 million in bond authority for a levee project in southern Fairfax County.
If approved, the county could issue stormwater bonds to construct a levee to protect 180 homes in the Huntington community, which twice has been damaged by severe flooding from Cameron Run.
“It’s not simply the preservation of homes; it’s a very important public safety issue,” said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville). “We are very, very fortunate that we did not lose any residents or first responders.”
If for some reason the county reaches a less costly solution to Huntington’s flooding problem or finds an additional source of money, such state funds, during the next few years, the Board could opt to issue the stormwater bonds for other projects, or to not issue them.
Some board members wanted to put a $50 million stormwater bond on the ballot, instead of $30 million, so it could fund other potential projects. However, that proposal failed because of a lack of clarity about what other projects are needed.
The remaining $155 million in bond authority includes $75 million for parks, $55 million for public safety and $25 million for libraries.
Some supervisors said they are concerned about adding new park facilities because of the cost of maintaining them. Bonds can be used to pay for major maintenance, such as a new roof, but not smaller, routine maintenance costs.
“Right now we’re not maintaining well what we already have. That challenge isn’t going to go away,” said Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock).
However, Supervisor Michael Frey (R-Sully) said the county put off adding new facilities in his district for years, meaning his constituents don’t have access to the same types of recreation options that are available in other parts of the county.
“We put off facility development for a long time and there is a part of this county that is tremendously underserved,” Frey said.