Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpIn-person absentee voting started last Friday in Virginia, and satellite polling locations across Fairfax County, including the Mason District Governmental Center, will be open for in-person absentee voting each Saturday through November 5, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Weekday voting hours, from 2 – 8 p.m., at the satellite locations will begin on Monday, October 17, – Friday, November 4. Any registered Fairfax County voter may vote absentee in-person, with a valid photo ID. You also may vote at the Electoral Board office at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax; check www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections for further information about extended voting hours there, or about registering to vote before the deadline of October 17.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8; your regular polling place will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. In-person absentee voting makes it easy for those who work long hours, or may be out of town on Election Day, or who may find standing in line difficult, to exercise their most important duty as a citizen of this great nation – VOTE!

In addition to voting for President and Members of Congress, there are several items on the Fairfax County ballot that may need additional study by the voter. Households should have received an information flyer about three bond referenda questions in the mail recently. Bonds are a form of long-term borrowing used by most local governments to finance public facilities and infrastructure. Virginia law requires that voters approve general obligation bonds through a referendum. You may vote YES or NO. If a majority votes YES, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors can sell bonds for the purposes described in the bond question. If a majority votes NO, the Board will not be able to issue the said bonds.

The Transportation referendum asks if the county may issue up to $120 million in bonds to fund the county’s share of Metro’s Capital Improvement Program and road improvements. Most local jurisdictions in the metropolitan area are signatories to the decades-old Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact. Metro’s Six-Year Capital Improvement Program includes purchase of 300 replacement railcars, 250 buses and construction of new bus garages, including one in Fairfax County. The goal of the program is to provide safe and reliable public transit service, something that has been discussed a great deal this year as Metro continues with its SafeTrack and surge repair program.

A $107 million Parks and Park Facilities Bond Referendum would provide funds for preservation projects, renovation and upgrades of aging community park facilities countywide, and a baseball complex to serve the entire county. Also included is $12 million to pay the county’s contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s (NVRPA) capital improvement program. Fairfax County is a founding member of the NVRPA.

Finally, a Human Services and Community Development bond requests approval of $85 million to renovate, expand, or replace four of the county’s shelters that serve homeless persons, including the Bailey’s Crossroads and Patrick Henry shelters in Mason District. Bond funds also would be used to replace the Sully Senior Center and construct a new Lorton Community Center. Both facilities would continue to provide programming for older adults, and expand capacity for other programs for all ages.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.