Prince William Supervisors Hesitant About Bond Referendum

| June 29, 2019 | 0 Comments | News

Prince William County Supervisors want the public’s input on a bond referendum to include more indoor sports facilities.

By Sidney Guyton 

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors shared numerous concerns over the 600-million-dollar bond referendum proposed by Chairman Corey Stewart-R at their June 18 meeting.

The bond would supply 400 million dollars towards roads and transportation in the county, while the remaining 200 million will go towards improving current and building new park facilities.

The park bond projects currently under consideration would require up to $200 million of general obligation debt to fund the costs for acquisition, design, construction, equipment and improvements for the following parks facilities:

  • Tourism and Indoor Sports Complex in Eastern Prince William County
  • Indoor Athletics Field House in Western Prince William County
  • Howison Park Improvements
  • Long Park Improvements
  • Neabsco Park Development
  • Fuller Heights Expansion
  • Aquatic and Fitness Center in Eastern Prince William County
  • Countywide Trails, Open-Space and Park Improvements

The road bond projects under consideration would require up to $400 million of general obligation debt to fund the costs for acquisition, design, construction and improvements for the following projects:

  • Devlin Road Widening
  • University Boulevard Extension
  • Route 28 Bypass/Widening
  • Sudley Road Intersection Improvements (such as roundabouts at the Catharpin Road/Sudley Road Intersection and the Pageland Road/Sanders Lane/Sudley Road Intersection; includes Pageland Road Realignment)
  • Route 55 Widening
  • Minnieville Road/Prince William Parkway Interchange
  • Old Bridge Road/Gordon Boulevard Intersection
  • Old Bridge Road/Prince William Parkway Intersection
  • Summit School Road Extension
  • Van Buren Road Extension
  • North Woodbridge Mobility Improvements (such as the Route 1/Route 123 Interchange, Horner Road/Marina Way Extension and Annapolis Way Connection)
  • Countywide Safety/Operational and Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects

More details as provided by the county. 

The board is scheduled to vote on June 25 as to whether to put the bond referendum on the ballot in the upcoming November election. Supervisors have concerns about whether the projects that the bond would go towards would be worth the cost, and how it should be written on the ballot if does become a referendum.

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson-R and Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland-R were hesitant about the referendum. Candland specifically thought it would mean a burden for the taxpayers.

Stewart believes that these projects are necessary due to the high population increase in the county, which as of 2018 is estimated to be about 460,457, according to Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

One issue for Supervisors Pete K. Candland, R-Gainesville and Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Potomac is that this board’s term is coming to an end at the same time the bond referendum vote. At least four out of the eight members will not be returning after the elections, and perhaps more. Even the people vote in favor of the bond, the new board does not have to approve the projects.

Caddigan spoke up about her hesitation to go through the process since the new board may have a different vision. However, Supervisor Principi, D-Woodbridge, said the time they had left was enough to get the bond approved for the ballot and what happens after that was not his biggest concern.

But Principi thought the priority should be on Prince William County Schools and moving students out of trailers and into buildings to the address the larger issue of increased school populations. He would like to see the referendum divided into four sections: roads, outdoor parks, indoor parks, and schools. Supervisor Victor Angry, D-Neabsco, agreed.

Stewart reminded them that over half of their budget already goes to Prince William County schools and their budget already bigger than the one that they have. Supervisor Lawson, R-Brentsville, reminded the group that PWCS board was to vote on school boundaries June 19 and that they were still waiting to hear back about an audit on the school trailers. Although this slight pushback came up in the meeting, there was a unanimous “yes” on having school capital on the bond.

Questioning how the projects would be paid for, Candland stated that it would include either cutting existing services, raising taxes on residents, or creating new taxes which he found concerning. He reminded his colleagues that on top of the “price tag” there are 3 ½ percent increases built into the five-year plan and then another additional cost for the revenue sharing agreement with Prince William County Public Schools.

Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, added that people who do not directly benefit from the projects might be less apt to vote “yes.” He believed the park bonds to be too high a number but agreed with the amount of money the county was willing to spend on roads.

Prince William County does not have a great track record when it comes to completing park projects said Caddigan. In 2006 the residents approved a parks bond, but there were fitness and aquatic center projects at Chinn in Lake Ridge and Dale City that were never, and will never, be completed, though rising populations made existing facilities insufficient.

Lawson argued there is no hard evidence that these projects would create an “economic boom,” that is the hope.

Stewart said the parks will not bring in money directly since they are free to use. Candland agreed with Lawson and added, “citizens would not understand the fiscal impact.” Both Lawson and Candland stated that they would vote “no” to the bond referendum if they were voting that day.

These issues need to be hashed out in the short seven-day period between the time of this meeting and the day the board votes. In the meantime, residents can contact their supervisors.

At the end of their discussion, Caddigan pointed out that the entire board needed to be in agreement for the bonds to be a success, even if the majority votes in favor of it. This was not the case during their mock vote at the meeting.

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad