Half of Registered Voters Turn Out in Dranesville

Half of Registered Voters Turn Out in Dranesville

Dranesville District voted enthusiastically last week, leading Fairfax County in the percentage of registered voters who turned out.

Of nine magisterial districts in the county, Dranesville’s total of 50.8 percent was the highest level of participation in the mid-term election.

More absentee votes were cast in Dranesville than any of the magisterial districts also: 2,005.

They were vociferous in ousting a proposal for a half-cent sales tax for transportation, with 18,510 voting no and 14,797 voting yes.

Of 33,307 votes: 55.5 percent voted against and 44.4 percent voted for the proposal.

But Dranesville voters like parks, with 69 percent voting in favor of a $20 million bond referendum for the Fairfax County Park Authority.

An even higher percentage -- 73 percent -- voted yes for a $60 million public safety bond.

“The message from the referendum is that Richmond ought to be paying more,” said Dranesville District Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, who had supported the sales tax.

That means tinkering with the formula by which state revenues are parceled out to localities, he said.

“Everyone up here [in Northern Virginia] agrees [the funding formula] ought to be based on population and car miles driven.

But the state has no formula to account for congestion, Mendelsohn said.

The formula “needs to be based on the number of cars, population, and congestion, rather than the number of miles” driven, Mendelsohn said.

The “no” vote was “a clear and significant victory” for those who oppose taxes, said Joanne Theon, co-chair of the budget and taxation committee of the McLean Citizens Association.

“It is a monumental, really important victory for the taxpayers of Northern Virginia, probably for all of Virginia,” she said.

“It is something that has never been done before. We have never had a referendum at which time the voters could decide if they wanted to increase taxes.

“There is a clear message to our elected officials that they are not in touch with the voters in this county and this region,” she said.

“I think it was largely unanticipated that it would be so roundly defeated,” said Clark Tyler, president of the Hallcrest Heights Association. “My real fear is, what happens now?

“The effort now shifts to finding either another source, such as raising the gas tax, or doing something about the distribution formula so that Northern Virginia gets a fair share.”

Tyler said he was gratified that state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-37) had committed to the HHA that he would help adjust the funding formula so Northern Virginia gets a greater share.