The Bulletin

It wasn’t just candidates on Tuesday’s ballots: The fate of local bonds, meals taxes and alcohol measures

By: - November 7, 2018 1:27 pm

“I Voted” stickers spread out on a table at a polling place in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Virginians voted to pass two constitutional amendments related to property tax relief in this year’s election, a decision that will affect the whole state.

But there were also some notable local ballot measures that asked voters to decide on funding for traffic improvements in some of Northern Virginia’s fastest-growing areas and imposing local meals taxes to fund a variety of needs.

Voters in Loudoun and Arlington counties approved bonds for transportation projects.

Loudoun voters approved $152 million for road construction and other improvements. Arlington voters approved $74 million in bonds for metro improvements. Most of that — $44 million — is Arlington County’s share to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority capital improvement plan. The rest is for local street projects.

Fairfax County voters approved, 69 to 30 percent, issuing $182 million in bonds to pay for new public safety facilities as well as renovations and improvements to existing buildings. The money would pay for the replacement of four fire stations, the renovation of eight other fire stations, improving one police station, a police training facility and evidence storage building.

It will also update security systems in the county’s adult detention center and upgrade courtrooms to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the county website.

Charles City, Fluvanna and Tazewell counties all pitched a meals tax for voters to decide on. Only Charles City County voters approved the 4 percent tax, which will help pay for fire and emergency services construction projects.

Fluvanna and Tazewell also wanted to implement a 4 percent tax. Fluvanna was looking for an additional revenue source and Tazewell wanted to fund public safety projects, including school security measures.

Tazewell voters also got to decide if the county should allow the sale of mixed alcoholic beverages at restaurants in the town of Richlands. Tazewell is one of Virginia’s 19 remaining dry counties, but many dry localities will allow certain businesses or towns to serve liquor with special permission.

Voters allowed, 60 to 39 percent, for Richlands to begin serving liquor in town restaurants.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.