County Administrator Tim Hemstreet, pictured at right, presented a proposed budget for the Loudoun County government to the Board of Supervisors for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019), which begins July 1, 2018. The budget totals $2.3 billion in appropriations for the county government and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
The proposed budget is based on Board of Supervisors’ guidance to prepare a budget at the equalized real property tax rate, which, based on the final assessment portfolio from the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, is $1.09. The equalized tax rate is 3.5 cents lower than the current tax rate of $1.125. At the Board’s direction, Hemstreet provided two additional tax rate options for consideration, including an option at one cent higher than the equalized rate, $1.10, and an option at one cent lower than the equalized rate, $1.08.
Hemstreet said the proposed budget, at the equalized tax rate of $1.09, is designed “to continue serving our residents well and to maintain the service levels the Board expects.” He said the priorities for the FY 19 proposed budget fall within three major themes: employee compensation; maintaining current service levels; and enhancing programs to advance Board strategic focus areas and community needs.
The FY 19 proposed budget includes:
Hemstreet noted that the county continues to add approximately 11,000 residents every year, which brings additional service demands that cannot be absorbed by existing staff and static year-over-year funding.
The proposed budget also provides an increase of $53.5 million to the Loudoun County Public Schools over fiscal year 2018. There remains a $10.8 million difference between the proposed budget and the School Board’s budget request that was adopted on February 1, 2018.
Factors Shaping the Proposed Budget
Hemstreet said the proposed FY 2019 budget was developed in a favorable economic environment similar to that of the current fiscal year and that Loudoun property values continue to increase. Property taxes, including real and personal, provide 75 percent of total revenue in the proposed budget.
The FY 2019 proposed budget also includes $12.0 million in local gasoline tax funding for Loudoun County’s operating start-up payment to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in preparation for the beginning of Silver Line revenue service.
Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
The FY 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which includes both County and school projects, totals $2.4 billion for the six-year planning period. The category with the largest expenditure percentage is transportation projects at 53 percent, or $1.27 billion, followed by school projects at 20 percent, or $484 million.
The proposed CIP maintains funding for high priority general government projects and several new projects, including the new Intersection Improvement Program, the new Sidewalk and Trail Program, and the widening of Loudoun County Parkway from Ryan Road to Shellhorn Road. The CIP also includes the acceleration of the Crosstrail Boulevard project, the Route 7/Route 287 interchange and the Fire and Rescue Training Academy Expansion. The proposed CIP fully incorporates the School Board’s adopted capital plan, which includes the acceleration of elementary schools to expand full-day kindergarten, security improvements, funding for new school buses, funding for providing road access and connections to several schools and other facilities and expansion of broadband infrastructure.
Tax Rates Summary
Hemstreet has advertised a real property tax rate of $1.105 to provide the Board with options to fund the Loudoun County Public Schools’ full budget request and the county’s budget requests in the proposed budget.
The proposed budget is balanced at the equalized tax rate of $1.09. The Board also directed the County Administrator to prepare two additional tax rate scenarios, including one at $1.10 and one at $1.08. At the $1.10 rate, LCPS could receive an additional $8.2 million. At the $1.08 rate, the Board would have to consider reductions to the funding transfer to LCPS and to county government expenditures in the proposed budget.
The Board of Supervisors will determine the final real property tax rate and related budget policy decisions during March budget work sessions with adoption of the FY 2019 budget expected on April 3, 2018.
There are several ways in which members of the public may participate in the budget process, including Board of Supervisors public hearings, email, voice messages and social media.
The Board will hold three public hearings on the proposed FY 2019 budget. The hearings are scheduled for:
Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings may sign up in advance for one speaking slot, beginning Thursday, February 15, by calling 703-777-0204.
The public hearings at the government center will be available for viewing on Comcast Government TV Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40, and Verizon FiOS Channel 40. They will also be webcast at www.loudoun.gov/webcast.
Members of the public may also:
For More Information
More information, including the FY 2019 proposed budget, the County Administrator’s FY 2019 budget presentation, the schedule for Board of Supervisors budget work sessions and the Board’s Finance/Government Operations and Economic Development Committee’s Capital Improvement Program work sessions, is posted on the Loudoun County website at www.loudoun.gov/budget.
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