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Fairfax supervisors seek more time to sell public-safety bonds

Court approval needed to gain two more years

Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 12 are expected to ask the Circuit Court for more time to sell bonds that were approved by voters in 2015 for public-safety facilities.

The legal time limit between approval of county bonds and their issuance is eight years; court action is required to increase it to a maximum 10 years. If the county government doesn’t sell the bonds by then, the authorization will be voided.

Fairfax voters on Nov. 3, 2015, approved a public-safety bond totaling $151 million, which included funding to renovate or replace several of police and fire stations. To date, $67 million remains unspent owing to a number of delays with individual projects.

The delays likely will cost taxpayers, as interest rates – even for localities with solid credit ratings like Fairfax County – have increased substantially over the past 18 months.

Assuming court approval, county staff plan to sell the remaining bonds in batches from January 2024 to January 2025.

The $67 million in approved but unsold bonds is part of a total of $1.22 billion from voter referendums in 2014 to 2021, including $520 million for county schools, that iswaiting to be sold.