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Henrico voters approve millions in school, park upgrades

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico voters overwhelmingly approved plans for Henrico to borrow more than $400 million to pay for 26 projects across the county.

The approved bond referendums deal with five project areas:

School renovations

Parks and recreation upgrades

Road widening

Library overhaul

Fire station construction

School projects are proposed to be funded over a five-year period, while the others would be funded over six years. County leaders said they can pay back the debts without raising the county real estate tax.

Henrico County Manager Jon Vithoulkas said meals tax and tourism revenues have come back higher than projected over the past few years. Leaders are confident that those revenues, coupled with the county’s AAA bond rating, will help pay off the debts without raising taxes over the next five to six years.

"We're incredibly conservative when it comes to how we project revenues," Vithoulkas. "You're not going to see Henrico County have budget shortfalls and budget deficits."

Here's the breakdown:

$272.6 million for schools projects

$87.1 million for parks projects

$24 million for libraries projects

$22.1 million for fire stations and facilities projects

$14 million for roads projects

Vithoulkas said the driving force behind this year’s bond referendums was the school projects.

The eight Henrico schools which would be renovated are an average of 57 years old, county leaders said.