Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we say goodbye to 2012, I took some time to reflect on my first year in office. I had three major goals; improve the county’s fiscal position, reduce traffic congestion and support the school board as it continues to deliver a quality education to our children. After a short time in office, I added a fourth – to improve access to and increase the number of sports fields in Loudoun. While the achievement of these goals will take much longer than a year, much progress has been made and I look forward to the good work yet to be done in the coming year. I would also like to thank my fellow board members, county staff, my office staff and the many citizen volunteers who devote their time, energy and expertise to help us elected officials lead this great community.
Getting our fiscal house in order was my number one priority and I worked hard to identify potential ways to affect long-term systemic changes to the budget. The Virginia Retirement System funding formula created a huge liability to the county. By adjusting our long-term liabilities, while still providing exemplary benefits for our employees, our savings will substantially improve the county’s fiscal position over time. I also addressed the fiscal liability of post-retirement benefits. While it is important to be fiscally responsible, we also value the men and women who serve as Loudoun employees. In a tight budget time, I put in place a “bonus pool” created through savings in the existing budget. Employees can earn up to a 3% bonus if savings are achieved.
Besides bringing the Silver Line to Loudoun, I worked with staff and fellow Supervisors to create a priority list of missing road segments throughout the county. We will use this list to work with VDOT to find creative funding solutions to meet our transportation needs. The following is a list of transportation projects that were completed or moved forward over the past year. For additional information please visit my website as all of this information can be found in my past newsletters.
The public schools budget accounts for approximately 70% of the county’s overall budget. While the Board of Supervisors transfers these funds, we have no control over how these funds are programed and spent. I have long supported the need to provide a high quality education to the children of Loudoun County. However, I think it is critical to manage this $867.4 million budget as efficiently as possible. There are always efficiencies to be found and new and creative ways to deliver services while reducing costs. I encourage the School Board to mirror the retirement and pension reforms the county has already enacted. It is the responsible thing to do.
Very early in the year, I began hearing from constituents about reducing the net deficit of sports fields in Loudoun and increasing access to and usability of our existing fields. We restored funding to Parks & Recreation for field maintenance so that our youth leagues and traveling tournament players are afforded quality fields. We are in active conversations with owners of vacant land to add more fields into our inventory. I actively support Supervisor Letourneau’s initiative to install artificial turf to all high school fields and to irrigate other school fields to increase playing time.
I am eager to see these initiatives move forward in 2013!
Discovery Elementary School (ES-22)
The boundary process for Discovery Elementary School (ES-22) and Moorefield Station Elementary School (ES-16) was completed on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Please view the School Board adopted plan for details. The elementary school attendance zone changes will become effective in the fall of 2013.
During the 5 December Board of Supervisors’ (BOS) Business Meeting the Board supported the acceleration of HS-6 by directing staff to expedite all associated land use applications and to take steps to ensure that these applications are given priority status.
Dulles Rail Project/Dulles Toll Road Tolls
As part of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors’ adopted legislative program for the upcoming 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session, the Board is pursuing an initiative that, if approved, would have the Commonwealth of Virginia undertake the moral obligation for credit support of the approximate $500 million in Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) revenue bonded indebtedness for the Dulles Toll Road. This initiative would not require any additional expenditure by Virginia, but would be in effect providing the Commonwealth’s credit rating to the Dulles Rail debt. This moral obligation umbrella translates into lower interest rate costs for retiring MWAA debt from the toll revenue bonds backed by the Dulles Toll Road. These lower interest rates could significantly reduce the need for future toll increases. I would encourage you to contact your Delegate and Senator and ask them to support this crucial initiative to help cap toll costs for Northern Virginia commuters. Click here to find their contact information.
Increase in Greenway Tolls
The owners of the Greenway have filed an application with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to raise tolls by 10 cents next year. The SCC comment period on the Greenway’s application will be open until 14 January. Shawn Williams and I are bringing an item to the 2 January BOS General Business Meeting asking the Board to take a position against the proposed increase and convey that position to the SCC. You can file your own comments against the increase here (Case No. PUE-2012-00136, Application of Toll Road Investors Partnership, II, L.P., for an increase in tolls).
The high tolls on the Greenway already inflict an unfair financial burden on Loudoun commuters and cause traffic to divert to other major roadways (Waxpool Road, Route 7 and Route 28). Instead of increasing tolls, the Greenway should pursue strategies that would encourage more traffic volume.
Metrorail Service District Updates
ADOPTION OF THE DULLES METRORAIL SERVICE DISTRICTS
The Board of Supervisors officially adopted the Ordinance to Create the Metrorail Service Districtswhich includes two sub-districts (the Route 606 / Airport Station Service District, and the Route 772 Station Service District) during the 5 December BOS Business Meeting. Almost all currently occupied residential units in close proximity to the stations are outside of the district (except for about thirty residential condos on the south side of the Greenway next to the Route 772 station and seven existing residential parcels). Additionally, during the 11 December Public Hearing, Chairman York withdrew his motion for the proposed additional service district so the Districts are now complete. This tax district allows Metrorail to be financed primarily by the property owners who stand to benefit the most.
Waxpool Road/Ashburn Village Boulevard *
Now that Ashburn Village Boulevard has been widened to four lanes near Waxpool Road, it is vitally important to install the traffic signal at what is now a four way stop. This signal will be installed as part of the overall Waxpool improvement project. It is scheduled to begin construction this summer. I am working very closely with county staff and VDOT to see if it is possible to accelerate this schedule.
The next regular business meeting of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, 2 January 2013. The Board canceled its previously scheduled business meeting of Tuesday, 18 December 2012.
Beginning in 2013, the Board will hold its regular business meetings on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, beginning at 4:00 p.m., with public input beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Board’s monthly public hearing will be on the second Wednesday of the month, beginning at 6:00 p.m. In addition, the Board’s Finance/Government Services and Operations Committee is changing its schedule and will meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 5:00 p.m.
More details about the 2013 meeting schedule of the Board and its Standing Committees will be forthcoming following the Board meeting on January 2, when the Board will consider organizational matters, including:
• Adoption of Rules of Order
Government Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40, and Verizon FiOS Channel 40. The meetings are available for viewing through the webcast system at www.loudoun.gov/webcast. Board meeting documents are posted online at www.loudoun.gov/bosdocuments.