Prince William Supervisors Approved Mobility, Park Bond Referendums

| July 1, 2019 | 0 Comments | News

Supervisors Jeanine Lawson, Pete Candland, Maureen Caddigan and Chairman Corey Stewart listen to a presentation at the June 25, 2019 meeting of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to put two bond referendums questions on the ballot in the November election; one a $355 million road bond and a $41 million parks bond.

The proposal was less ambition to the bonds originally proposed. Before voting on the referendum, the supervisors decided to split the question and eliminate some of the originally proposed projects.

Mobility Bond

The amended mobility or transportation bond question passed by a 5-3 vote.

Chairman At-large Chair Corey Stewart, who proposed the referendums voted “yes” as well as supervisors Jeanine Lawson (R-Brentsville; Marty Nohe, (R-Coles); and Ruth Anderson, (R-Occoquan); and Victor Angry, (D-Neabsco).

Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (R-Potomac), Pete Candland, R-Gainesville; and Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge voted against the question.

The supervisors decided to priorities the Route 28 bypass/widening project and thus increased the amount from $100 to $200.

Supervisors agreed that the road is a “disaster” and is only getting worse as populations increase.

Other projects included in the bond referendum were the Devlin Road widening at $50 million; the Minnieville Road and Prince William Parkway interchange at $70 million; the Old Bridge Road and Gordon Boulevard intersection at $15 million and the Summit School extension at $20 million.

The supervisors also eliminated various projects from the referendum, first the countywide road safety and bicycle and pedestrian improvements, which could perhaps be funded within the regular budget process.

Other projects eliminated were the University Boulevard extension; Sudley Road corridor intersection improvements; Route 55 widening and Catharpin Road intersection improvements; Van Buren Road extension and the North Woodbridge mobility improvements.

Supervisor Principi did not want to put any bond referendums on the ballot if there was not a separate question for funding the elimination of trailers at overcrowded schools. Supervisor Lawson noted they still do not have the results of the school trailer audit so it would be premature to post a bond referendum.

Stewart pointed out that with the revenue sharing agreement, whatever the county spent on road or park improvements, the schools would get even more money.

Candland clarified that he is talking only about the amount of debt service the county would pay off annually.

It is the debt service that Candland opposed. He said the county does not know how the next board would fund the referendum projects, but it could mean raising taxes or cutting existing services.

Further, he thought that citizens might vote for road or park improvements thinking they are great projects without fully understanding to the taxpayers.

Read more about the supervisors’ thought on the bond referendum as per their June 18, 2019 meeting. 

Parks Referendum

The county supervisors approving placing a parks bond referendum on the ballot, that was much less ambitious than that originally proposed. It included expansions or improvements to select existing outdoor facilities, and eliminated more expensive indoor facility projects.

They passed a resolution for a parks bond not to exceed $41 million for outdoor facilities that include Howison Park Improvements at $6 million; Neabsco District Park at $6 million; Trails and Open Space, Accessibility to Occoquan Greenway and Neabsco Greenway; and other greenway projects at $20m, Fuller Heights Expansion at $6 million; and Hellwig Park Athletic Fields for $3,000.

The Long Park improvement in Haymarket, at $10.8 million, was removed.*

That resolution passed 5-3, approved by supervisors Stewart, Anderson, Angry, Caddigan and Nohe. Lawson, Candland and Principi opposed.

Supervisors eliminated the Western Indoor Field House at $17.6 million and the Eastern Indoor Sports Complex at $84 million from the bond referendum. They also eliminated the Aquatic & Fitness Centers $42 million and Boathouse $5 million.

The majority agreed to eliminate the indoor athletic centers from the proposal, but not give up on the projects. Stewart explained that there are opportunities for a private-public partnership that staff could pursue in various forms. He hoped those facilities would serve the growing population and also make the county more attractive to businesses.

The supervisors then looked to pare down other parks projects to come to a more reasonable cost and propose something that would like to come to fruition.

Candland asked if the approach was now to “come up with a list we think the voters will pass, “I just want to make sure we understand the strategy at this point.”

Angry said he would rather have most items on the ballot because his constituents are split on the issue, so he would rather have them decide.

Stewart also thought it is a good idea to give the new board some guidance as many of them will be “rookies” as they all were at one point. He said it is not about his legacy which he feels has been cemented for better or worse.

 

*Correction: It was not supervisor Lawson who said she would be in favor of removing Long Park from the referendum.

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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