Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
In last week’s column, I explained why Arlington needs to develop a core services approach to deal with its budget. Several commenters offered helpful suggestions as to how Arlington ought to define a core services approach.
Of course, there are refinements, adjustments and other details that Arlington needs to address in order to adopt a core services approach to its budget.
Where Arlington has missed the mark is by spending, or proposing to spend, extravagant amounts of money in areas relating to, for example, public recreation. Don’t get me wrong. I believe it is important for Arlington to provide facilities like swimming pools and dog parks. But, I also believe it is extravagant to construct an $82 million Aquatics Center or a $1.7 million dog park.
In the end, Arlington needs to adopt a core services approach to budgeting because such an approach will provide a publicly articulated and understood set of values by which budget proposals can be measured.
A core services approach to budgeting should only be adopted by the County Board after an appropriate process of community engagement.
Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.