Local Commentary

Editorial: Locking in Low Interest Rates

Everyone in the City of Falls Church who pays any taxes to the City at all, whether real estate, personal property (cars, mostly), business gross receipts tax (known as the BPOL tax), sewer tax, stormwater tax or meals tax, as well as the price of parking tickets or vehicle moving violations, late fees, and all those other fees and charges that officials do not like calling taxes, should be toasting their leaders and servants at City Hall this week for the (hopefully) timely and aggressive move to bundle up and sell the already-authorized AAA bonds totaling $126,000,000 while interest rates are at a record low this fall.

We are careful to add that all these taxes and fees are paid by everyone, no matter what jurisdiction they may live in (with minor exceptions, such as the lack of a meals tax in Fairfax, or maybe the addition of some school extracurricular fees in some places), because providing the services required to keep citizens safe and the beneficiaries of good overall services and schools, don’t come cheap, and shouldn’t.

In the case of Falls Church, leaders here have undertaken a bold and aggressive commitment to move the Little City forward with state of the art schools and public services. It is, therefore, on the cutting edge of the latest developments in environmental stewardship, alternative modes of transportation and, foremost in the City’s values, educational excellence. It has also adopted the most progressive postures for affirming diversity and inclusion in all of its policy making. With a hoped-for new majority in Richmond come January (following this November’s elections), lawmakers are hopeful they will also be able to make big gains in gun safety, affordable housing and women’s equality, and more. Also, there is the role of the City’s locally-owned independent newspaper of record as an important feature fostering a sense of community that prevails here.

The posture associated with these gains has already contributed enormously as “value added” features to the City’s residential real estate stock, as realtors will acknowledge that 10 to 15 percent of a property’s value here is due directly to this combination of factors, especially the value of the school system.

Already, the City has done this without an undue burden on its taxpayers, with special programs enhanced in the last year to better enable citizens to “age in place” in their existing homes, as well. Now, the move to capitalize on new record low interest rates in the bond markets to finance all the new things that are happening comes as an added boon. Paying for all the new stuff, our new school, new library and new City Hall, is being handled in a way that actually generates a profit for us! Borrowing at 1.6 percent and investing it (until it is spent) at a 2 percent return is a grand way to pay for things!

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