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Vienna to borrow $12 million to fund capital projects

Faith Baptist Church in Vienna (via Google Maps)

The Vienna Town Council unanimously voted Monday (Feb. 7) to borrow $12 million to fund capital projects, including improvements of roadways, sidewalks, and the recently acquired Faith Baptist Church building.

Of the $12 million in bond funding, $6.7 million will be repaid with meals taxes, $3.9 million repaid with water and sewer fees and $1.2 million repaid by the general fund, Director of Finance Marion Serfass told the council at its Monday meeting.

About 44% of the money will go toward construction improvements to streets and sidewalks, and 33% for water and sewer projects. The remainder of the costs are for smaller facility improvements, like parks and recreation projects, public-use vehicles, and bond issuance costs.

“I do want to say for the record that the town does not undertake borrowing $12 million lightly,” Councilmember Chuck Anderson said. “We have a stellar financial record and that money is cheap, and we’re using these funds for capital improvements that are much needed, so this is actually a very fiscally smart and responsible thing to do.”

Councilmember Ray Brill responded that “money is never cheap” and “there is a cost to the money.”

Serfass told Tysons Reporter that this morning (Thursday), credit rating agencies Moody’s and S&P both reaffirmed their AAA rating of the town, the highest possible rating, because of the town’s likelihood to pay back the debt.

Projects from the $26.5 million 2022 Capital Improvement Plan that will get some of the bond funding include:

  • Glen Avenue sidewalks ($1.9 million)
  • Asphalt and mill overlay ($1.65 million)
  • Glyndon Road SE improvements from Locust Street to Valley Drive ($725,000)
  • The Freeman Store and Museum roof replacement ($95,000)
  • Glyndon Park playground and parking lot replacement ($300,000 each)
  • Faith Baptist Church property improvements ($300,000)

Many of the projects have additional funding allocated in the CIP from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act money or from the Robinson Trust Sidewalk Initiative.

“A good use of the American Rescue Plan Act money is capital projects, one-time projects that don’t require additional funding going forward, so not a new program,” Serfass said at the town council’s Jan. 24 meeting when it approved the CIP. “That really is a benefit to us as a town and is going to allow us to take a little pressure off our debt capacity and off our water and sewer rates.”

Bond funding, including premiums, accounted for $37.6 million of the town’s 2020 CIP, which included about $15 million for the police station renovation, and $9.2 million of the 2018 CIP.

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