County Administrator Tim Hemstreet presented a proposed budget for the Loudoun County government to the Board of Supervisors for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 2024), which begins July 1, 2023. The budget totals $4.2 billion in appropriations for the county government and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
The proposed budget has been prepared at a real property tax rate of $0.87 per $100 of assessed value, which is 2 cents below the current real property tax rate of $0.89 per $100 of assessed value. While the proposed tax rate for FY 2024 is lower than the current tax rate, the proposed rate is 6.5 cents above the overall equalized rate of $0.805, which is the rate at which the average real property owner’s tax bill would remain flat year over year. The homeowner’s equalized tax rate is $0.83. This means that while the proposed tax rate is lower than the current tax rate, the average homeowner’s tax bill would increase if the proposed tax rate is adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
The proposed budget executes the planned reduction in the general personal property tax rate from $4.20 per $100 of assessed value to $4.15 per assessed value for tax year 2023. This reduction is part of a strategic effort to ensure a diverse revenue base. As vehicles are assessed at the general rate, vehicle owners in the county can expect some relief on their vehicle tax bills.
“In accordance with the Board’s guidance, the proposed budget provides for the opening of new facilities, base budget adjustments, supports the county’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and compensates employees at a market rate,” Hemstreet said.
The FY 2024 proposed budget includes:
At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, Hemstreet also prepared two “increase options” for consideration. Both options include a real property tax rate that is one-and-a-half cents higher than the proposed budget, which would be $0.885 per $100 of assessed value. This tax rate, if adopted, would generate an additional $19.4 million for the Board’s consideration. These options are intended to help identify which resource needs by the county and Loudoun County Public Schools could be funded, if adopted.
School Board Budget Request
The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) requested a total of more than $1.1 billion dollars in local tax funding for FY 2024. Hemstreet’s proposed budget includes an increase of $69.1 million in local tax funding over last year but leaves a gap of $6.2 million from the School Board’s adopted budget.
In addition, due to an error in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s revenue calculations, the resulting revenue shortfall of up to $7.4 million could prompt the School Board to ask for additional funding.
Factors Shaping the Proposed Budget
The proposed FY 2024 budget was developed in a challenging economic climate. Significant factors influencing development of the budget include:
Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
The Amended FY 2023-2028 CIP, which includes both county and school projects, totals approximately $3.5 billion for the six-year planning period. The category with the largest expenditure percentage is transportation projects at 36%, followed by county projects at 35% and school projects at 29%.
FY 2024 is an “amendment year” for the CIP, so it reflects the priorities identified by the Board of Supervisors in the FY 2023 budget process. For FY 2024, renovation and renewal projects continue to be an important part of the CIP for both the county government and the schools.
New county projects include a Crisis Receiving and Stabilization Center, which addresses a critical need for behavioral health intervention services in the community.
The CIP also reflects the county’s ability to leverage state and federal funding for transportation projects such as the Sycolin Road-Loudoun Center Place to Crosstrail Boulevard project. It also includes funding for the design and construction of bus shelters along the local, fixed-route bus stops.
School projects include the full replacement of Park View High School rather than a renovation as well as renovations and additions to Banneker and Waterford Elementary Schools and increased funding for school security improvements.
Tax Rates Summary
The proposed budget is balanced at the real property tax rate of $0.87 per $100 of assessed value and a personal property tax rate of $4.15. Under the proposed budget, the average homeowner in Loudoun County would have a real property tax bill increase of $302, or about $25 per month, in tax year 2023.
Hemstreet has advertised a maximum real property tax rate of $0.89, which provides the Board of Supervisors with flexibility to consider critical needs in the increase options and address the LCPS gap caused by the Commonwealth’s revenue calculation error.
The Board of Supervisors will determine the final tax rates and related budget policy decisions during March budget work sessions with final adoption of the FY 2024 budget expected at the Board’s business meeting April 4, 2023.
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 2024 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 16, 2023, by calling 703-777-0204. Public input may be provided in person or virtually. More information about providing input to the Board of Supervisors is posted on the county’s website at loudoun.gov/signuptospeak.
The upcoming budget public hearings at the Government Center will be televised on Comcast Government TV Channel 23 and Verizon FiOS Channel 40. They will also be streamed live at loudoun.gov/meetings. The public hearing at LCPS will be televised on Comcast channel 18 and Verizon FIOS channel 43 and livestreamed on the LCPS website.
Members of the public may also:
For More Information
More information, including the FY 2024 proposed budget, the County Administrator’s FY 2024 budget presentation, the schedule for Board of Supervisors budget work sessions and the Board’s Finance/Government Operations and Economic Development Committee’s CIP work sessions, will be posted on the Loudoun County website at loudoun.gov/budget.
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