What will be on the November 8 ballot?
In four questions, voters will be asked whether Henrico should be authorized to issue up to $511.4 million in general obligation bonds to pay for improvements to public facilities. Voters will respond “yes” or “no” to each question. The proposed bond amounts are:
- $340.5 million for school projects
- $37 million for recreation and parks projects
- $83.85 million for fire station and public safety facilities projects
- $50 million for flood prevention and stormwater drainage projects
Will approval of the bond referendum increase tax rates?
No. The Henrico County Board of Supervisors reduced the real estate tax rate by 2 cents, to 85 cents per $100 of assessed value, when it adopted the county’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget. Costs associated with the issuance of bond debt and the operation of new facilities can be supported by current county revenues.
What projects are planned?
Various projects have been identified after months of discussion by county officials, including the Board of Supervisors and School Board.
Why does Henrico need the approval of voters to pursue these projects?
Under Virginia law, counties are required to get voter approval through a referendum before issuing debt for capital projects. Cities do not have this requirement. Henrico has held several bond referendums in recent decades, including ones in 2016 and 2005.
What does it mean to issue general obligation bonds?
Just as a person might get a bank loan to buy a car or home, local governments go to the bond market to borrow money to build or renovate schools or to make other public facility improvements. The county issues, or sells, bonds to investors to get the funds needed. At the same time, it pledges to make repayments plus interest over a set number of years. General obligation bonds are common municipal bonds that are backed by general tax revenues.
If voters approve the bond referendum, would the projects get underway at the same time?
No, construction would be staged over several years. To limit its costs, Henrico would borrow money for a project only when it’s ready to proceed.