Vote authorizes $511 million in projects for schools, parks, public safety, drainage
Henrico voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved all four questions in a bond referendum, clearing the way for the county to issue nearly $511.4 million in debt to fund capital projects for schools, parks and other public facilities. Officials have emphasized that approval of the bonds would require no increase to county tax rates.
“We are grateful for everyone who voted and appreciate the authorization to reinvest in our community and its quality of life with these much-needed capital projects,” Deputy County Manager for Administration W. Brandon Hinton said. “As outlined, we expect to issue the debt methodically, over a period of six years. In doing this, we will closely watch interest rates and financial markets to ensure we’re being responsible to our taxpayers whenever we take on new debt.”
In the referendum, voters were asked to vote “yes” or “no” on whether to authorize general obligation bonds in certain amounts across four project categories: $340.5 million for schools; $37 million for parks; $83.85 million for fire stations and other public safety facilities; and $50 million for drainage and flood prevention. The vote totals by category are as follows, according to the unofficial results:
- School projects, 105,151 yes-16,328 no, 86% approval
- Recreation and parks projects, 102,424 yes-19,057 no, 84% approval
- Fire station and public safety facilities projects, 108,946 yes-12,522 no, 89% approval
- Flood prevention and stormwater drainage facilities projects, 106,502 yes-14,849 no, 87% approval
In Virginia, counties are required by state law to receive voter approval before issuing general obligation bonds. This approach is the most affordable financing method because it allows the county to receive the lowest possible interest rates, officials said. Henrico has a triple-AAA bond rating, which reflects the best possible ratings from the Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings agencies.
More than 20 projects have been proposed for funding through the bond referendum. A plan for financing and construction will begin to be determined over the next few months.
- Quioccasin Middle, rebuild
- Environmental Education Living Building at Wilton Farm, new
- Jackson Davis Elementary, rebuild and capacity increase
- R.C. Longan Elementary, rebuild and capacity increase
- Highland Springs Elementary, rebuild
- Charles M. Johnson Elementary, renovation
- Fairfield area elementary, new
- West end area elementary, new
Recreation and Parks:
- Three Chopt area park and road improvements, new
- Deep Bottom Park, improvements
- Tuckahoe Creek Park, additions
Fire Stations and Other Public Safety Projects:
- Firehouse 6, relocation and rebuild
- Firehouse 1, relocation and rebuild
- Firehouse 11, rebuild
- Firehouses 14, 15, 16, 17, improvements
- Public Safety training center, new
- Animal shelter and adoption center, new
Flood Prevention and Stormwater Drainage:
- Improvements in all magisterial districts
Henrico is wrapping up construction of projects funded through the 2016 bond referendum, which provided $419.8 million for schools; fire stations and public safety facilities; parks; libraries; and roads. More information on the 2016 and 2022 bond referendums is at henrico.us/bonds.
The Henrico County Electoral Board is expected to certify the results of Tuesday’s general election at its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15.