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<b>Robbery Suspect Sought</b>

Arlington police are investigating a robbery that occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the 7-11 store at 1500 S. Fern St. A lone male suspect, pictured at right, grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash from the store clerk and ran from the store.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5-feet-8-inches-5-feet-10-inches, wearing a black football jersey with the number "7" on it.

Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to call Arlington County Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777 or detective Andy Penn of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4199. Crime Solvers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of this suspect. Callers to Crime Solvers remain anonymous and do not need to testify in court.

<b>County Budget to Grow to $702 Million Next Year</b>

Arlington County's budget will grow to $702 million next year, a 7.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year according to county projections, County Manager Ron Carlee told board members Saturday. Carlee said he expected spending to reach $697 million, a 4.8 percent increase over this year.

At the same time, real estate assessments are expected to rise 9.13 percent next year, meaning that homeowners’ real estate taxes will go up again next year unless the board reduces the tax rate to offset the increase.

Carlee told board members that the increases in spending would be required to make good on the funding commitments the board has taken on. Reneging on those commitments, he said, would be "foolish" and could jeopardize the county’s triple-triple A bond rating.

"You will follow through on the long-term commitments that you have made," he said.

Board Member Barbara Favola noted that it will take several months before the county has a clearer idea of next year's funding situation. Increased retirement demands as well as higher health insurance premiums could strain the county's purse strings more than anticipated, she said.

"Because the budget in fact may be balanced within the current tax revenue and possibly have a slight surplus doesn’t mean this is going to be a flush budget," she said.

Several speakers during the public hearing asked the board to include some real estate tax relief in next year’s budget. Tim Wise, president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, said higher taxes could spark a tax revolt.

"Many thought the revolt would start after you raised taxes 62 percent over four years," he said. "What is the [county] manager going to do with the windfall?"

Also on Saturday, board members learned that unexpected revenue last fiscal year as well as budget cuts resulted in a $7.1 million surplus. The board voted to put 5.3 million of that surplus towards next year’s budget, placing $800,000 in a reserve fund.

<b>Corrections</b>

The headline and secondary headline on the story “Historic Swanson” (Nov. 12) should have said Stratford school was proposed for a historic register.