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2004-10-25 Connolly, Hudgins silent on $2-billion debt

Will they post debt on County bond info web page?

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance president, Arthur G. Purves, today urged Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to respond to a Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance email requesting the County post on its bond referendum web page that the County is $2 billion in debt. (Purves lives in Hudgins' district.)

The email was sent a week ago, on Monday, October 18. It appealed a similar email to the County's Director of Public Affairs, who when asked to update the website with the interest costs of new bonds, responded, "The information online reflects the board approved wording and won't be supplemented at this time."

Currently the County's online information about the upcoming $325 million bond referendum omits the following:

  • Fairfax County owes over $2 billion for bonds it has already sold.
  • This year the County has to pay back over $200 million of that debt.
  • The $200 million payment accounts for about 13 cents of the County's $1.13 real estate tax rate.
  • The County cannot sell more than $200 million of bonds a year because it is so deeply in debt.
  • To sell $200 million in bonds, the County has to pay $90 million in interest, and that is with a Triple-A bond rating and record-low interest rates.

This information was also omitted from the County's bond referendum "Citizen Information" flier (pdf file), which was mailed at taxpayers' expense ($100K) to every household in the County. The flyer purported to tell both the pro and con arguments regarding the referendum, but omitted the major facts that would cause voters to oppose the bond.

"The Supervisors are deliberately withholding critical information from the public in order to secure passage of the referendum," Purves charged. "They are using tax dollars to lobby against the taxpayer."

Paid for by the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, Va. SBE #VA04-070