Henrico’s ‘State of the County’ shines light on Nov. 2022 bond referendum for new capital improvements

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 4:28 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:32 PM EST
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico residents will have a say on several large-scale projects, which county leaders hope to include on a Nov. 2022 bond referendum.

The last bond referendum residents voted on was in 2016, with 26 capital improvement projects. Now, leaders hope to continue that work making Henrico one of the best places to work, live and play.

“My experience has been if you present the information to our residents, that they typically are willing to invest in public infrastructure,” said County Manager John Vithoulkas. “You’re seeing the results of those investments.”

Henrico’s economy has turned around amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, heading into the last two fiscal years, leaders did have to make some cuts to the budget.

“We took a worst-case scenario and ended up with a best-case opportunity,” Vithoulkas said.

Because of the shift in a positive direction, changes are in store for 2022.

Vithoulkas said on Thursday during Henrico’s “State of the County” there will be a permanent tax rate reduction.

“Right now, the scenario is two cents, and in the current year for the first time ever, the county is going to provide a dividend of two cents back to all of the individuals and businesses that paid real estate in this county,” he added.

Beyond that, your vote is wanted on future capital projects.

County leaders are working on a Nov. 2022 bond referendum to fund a number of things. Of the $500-million being eyed, nearly two-thirds would improve schools.

“We’ve done a really, really good job of maintaining most of the facilities, but we do have some older facilities and opportunity right now with where we are to basically finish the job as far as fixing our schools,” Vithoulkas said.

On the shortlist for school improvements include renovations to Quioccasin Middle School and two new elementary schools.

“The pride in the neighborhoods and the reinvestment of real estate – that’s where these public dollars actually continue to pay dividends, not just for the folks who are here but for generations to come,” Vithoulkas said.

Meanwhile, the referendum question would also ask for the money to be approved to build a new public safety training center, a new animal shelter, drainage improvements countywide, and finally, recreation and parks improvements.

That bond would also fund a new public safety training center, a no-kill animal shelter, drainage improvements, and recreation and parks improvements.

The latter helps support the ongoing role of sports tourism in the county.

“[It] has become such an incredible piece of our local economy, and that is coming about through investments we have made in our parks and facilities,” Vithoulkas said.

More information about these future capital projects is expected to be announced in 2022, along with several informational sessions.

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