I am honored to kick off my second year representing you on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. My goals this year are to continue our progress with economic development, to continue to find creative solutions to improve our transportation infrastructure and to find efficiencies in local government so the tax burden can be reduced. For my 2013 committee assignments, I will once again be serving on the Finance, Government Services and Operations Committee and the Economic Development Committee.
At our business meeting on January 16th, the Board approved the final fiscal guidance for the County Administrator for the fiscal year 2014 budget. We directed him to prepare a budget which keeps the average tax bill even compared to last year. During the budget process, I will look to find efficiencies and savings with the aim of cutting property taxes. The County Administrator will present his budget to the Board on February 6th a 4pm. Three public comment sessions on the FY14 budget have been scheduled:
- February 27th, 3:00 PM (Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg)
- February 27th, 6:00 PM (Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg)
- March 2nd, 9:00 AM (LCPS Administration Building, 21000 Education Ct., Ashburn)
If you are interested in speaking, I would encourage you to sign up in advance. To sign up, please call the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors at 703-777-0200. Advanced sign-ups will begin on February 7th and will be taken until 12:00 noon the day of the meeting. Speakers will also have the option to sign-up in person at the meetings. If you cannot attend one of the public comment sessions, I would encourage you to send comments about the budget to the entire Board via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December, the Board of Supervisors met with the School Board to discuss the upcoming FY14 budget. At that meeting, I raised my concern that the cost per-pupil, the benchmark for efficiency used by the Loudoun County Public Schools, went up by $571 from FY12 to FY13. What was widely reported as ‘cuts’ to LCPS for FY13, was actually a 5.3% increase in the benchmark cost. Last week, the School Board passed their budget, trimming $16.7 million off of the Superintendent’s proposed budget. I applaud the School Board for their diligence in finding unnecessary spending in the FY14 proposed budget. My goal in the Board of Supervisors’ upcoming budget process is to make sure the educational needs of our students are fully met. I am concerned that there is top-heavy management at the administration level, and funding is not getting down to classrooms and teachers where it belongs. It is with this perspective that I will enter into the upcoming budget process. My focus will be to see that, by an objective measure (cost per-pupil), LCPS expenditures are on a sustainable funding course in line with Loudoun’s economic growth.
You might have read in Ashburn Today earlier this month about an agreement the Board approved to move the Ashburn Village Boulevard/Route 7 interchange forward. The interchange construction is proffered by the One Loudoun development (with several other cash proffers contributed), but Loudoun County is required to deliver the right-of-way. There was a dispute with an adjacent landowner over the interchange design, alignment and the needed right-of-way that has been holding up the project. Last spring, I sat down with both parties to broker an agreement to get this critical piece of transportation infrastructure built as soon as possible. Now this agreement will move forward with a new design, with the goal of resolving the right-of-way dispute. Loudoun County is using a small amount of existing transportation cash proffers (not taxpayer funds) in the area as part of a cost sharing agreement on the new design. The agreement should help this dispute avoid a lengthy legal battle, which could delay the interchange for years.
On Monday, I was interviewed by WAMU about HB 1979, a bill introduced by Loudoun Delegate Joe May, which authorizes the Commonwealth of Virginia to purchase the Greenway. I support this proposed legislation because if the Greenway is owned by the state it could lead to lower tolls and the management of the road would be accountable to the voters through the state government. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation on Monday. I would encourage you to contact your legislators in Richmond and encourage them to support HB 1979. At the Board’s February 6th meeting, we will be voting to take a formal position on this legislation, and I will push for Loudoun County to give a strong show of support.
The Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission have scheduled their respective public hearings on the Loudoun Hounds’ proposed ballpark at the One Loudoun development. The Board’s public hearing is being held at Farmwell Station Middle School to make it easier for everyone to attend. Here are the details:
- Planning Commission: February 19th, 6 PM (Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg). Call the Department of Planning at 703-777-0246 to sign up in advance.
- Board of Supervisors: March 25th, 6 PM (Farmwell Station Middle School, Ashburn)
I am looking forward to seeing the recommendations of the Planning Commission and having a thoughtful discussion with my colleagues on the Board about this application. Once this application has been through the land use planning process, I will have a much clearer picture of any potential negative impacts caused by the ballpark as proposed before I cast my vote. I will strongly advocate for conditions that place reasonable controls on events, noise, lighting and traffic as part of this process. The Board will most likely vote on this issue in a business meeting in April. Throughout this process my goal has been and will be to support what is best for our growing community in Broad Run.
As always, please feel free to call me at 703-771-5088 or email me at email@example.com with any questions. I’m looking forward to a productive and positive year representing you on the Board.
Transportation Project Spotlight
Waxpool Road Widening and Traffic Signal at Ashburn Village Boulevard
In my September newsletter I gave you an update about the widening project on Waxpool Road (from the Verizon Campus to Ashburn Road) and the planned installation of a badly needed traffic signal at Ashburn Village Boulevard. At this month’s Finance, Government Services and Operations Committee meeting we were updated that the right-of-way and easement acquisition process (which had been holding up the project) has been completed. The Office of Transportation is in the process of selecting a contractor, and construction is still on track to begin this spring.
Community Events and Information
Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Pancake Breakfast: First Sundays of the month. For more information, including cost, please click here.
Tax Help: Loudoun County is offering "FREE" income tax preparation for low-to-moderate income individuals and families through the VITA (income limited to $51,000) and AARP Programs (income is not limited). All sites have trained and certified IRS volunteers who are qualified and ready to help file and process both Federal and State returns. For sites in Loudoun County please click here.
In addition, some clients may want to do their own taxes; the IRS offers free tax preparation for individuals and families by going to: Free Federal Tax Help income limited to $57,000and click on Free File. The State of Virginia no longer offers Free State e-file but have partnered with other groups to provide Free State returns. For more information go to: Virginia Taxes
Safety Tip: Due to a recent uptick in reports of larceny from unlocked vehicles in surrounding areas, Sherriff Mike Chapman is urging people to lock their car doors. These are “crimes of opportunity” which can mostly be avoided by locking your doors.