Oakton, Vienna Vote Out Referendum

Oakton, Vienna Vote Out Referendum

But state bond issues and Fairfax bond referenda pass easily.

While the Congressional races and state bond questions were clear-cut victories, local officials varied on whether they thought the sales tax referendum would pass. Some didn't know, while others thought the turnout was as expected.

"I was surprised by the margin in the tax referendum," said Vienna town council member Laurie Cole. "Everyone thought it would be a close race."

As it turned out, the majority of voters in Vienna and Oakton voted against the sales tax referendum, which would have generated $5 billion over 20 years for transportation and road projects.

However, in some precincts, the failure of the tax referendum was closer. Fifty more citizens who voted at Marshall Road Elementary voted against the tax, while citizens who voted at Madison High School voted the measure down by 60 votes. Oakton voters who cast their ballot at the Oak Marr Recreation Center voted down the referendum by 30 votes, while voters in the Merrifield precinct supported the referendum by 19 more votes.

Yet the majority of precincts in Vienna and Oakton had wider margins of 100 or more against the tax. The two precincts with the largest margins were Vale and Flint Hill. Some 368 more citizens who voted at the Church of the Good Shepherd (Vale precinct) voted against the measure, while those voting at Flint Hill Elementary School defeated the referendum by 277 votes.

"I think the feeling of most people was very much like my own, that the state wasn't doing its job," said council member Vincent Olson.

Vienna mayor Jane Seeman said voters rejected the sales tax referendum for several reasons. Some were unsure whether the money generated from the sales tax would've actually come back to northern Virginia. Others said building new roads wouldn't ease traffic congestion. A handful were anti-tax in general.

"People don't trust the government in Richmond to get the money back," Seeman said.

Olson agreed. Because voters thought the state's track record for handling money allotted to northern Virginia was poor in the past, northern Virginia shouldn't trust Richmond with even more money.

"Too many people felt that once the money becomes available, it would be a temptation to the state," Olson said.

While the town of Vienna would have gotten limited funding from the referendum, the traffic problems around the town still made the measure important for voters.

"We hadn't changed our planning in reliance of it," Cole said, when asked how the referendum's defeat would affect Vienna. Indeed, Seeman said the Beulah and Branch Roads projects would continue as planned.

The other issues on the ballot, the state bond issues regarding higher education and funding for parks, passed all Vienna and Oakton precincts with ease. The Fairfax bond referendum on parks and public safety also passed.

Vienna won't get money from the park bond, but it does work with the county on Vienna's parks.

"We do get money for various things in our parks," like playground equipment and the creation of the recent dog park, Seeman said.