As we continue digging out from under feet of snow from the recent storm, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude toward the emergency services personnel of Loudoun County.
Just before midnight on January 23, I went into labor two weeks early. On a whim, I had decided to stay with a friend so that I would be closer to the hospital “just in case.” When “just in case” actually happened, I was worried about how I would possibly make it to the hospital.
With the storm having raged for more than twenty-four hours, all cars were buried, and roads were still covered. Feet seemed as insurmountable as miles in such conditions. I had no choice but to call 911.
Within moments, several firefighters arrived and were busy digging out the parking lot and surrounding streets so that one of their smaller vehicles could pass through to transport me to an ambulance waiting on a main road. Though I expected to wait close to an hour for help to arrive, help arrived almost immediately. Despite treacherous road conditions and the need to circumvent abandoned vehicles, we made it to the hospital safely.
Snow lovers often think it’s fun to experience a blizzard, but many of us only think of warm blankets, hot chocolate, and movie marathons by the fire. I witnessed firsthand the dedication of the emergency workers who put their lives and comfort at risk to help others.
Thanks to their efforts, I was able to make it to the hospital in time to safely deliver a baby girl. I wish I could thank each of them by name―many did introduce themselves―but there were too many heroes involved that evening for me to have met them all. And so, I offer my gratitude to the rescue workers who dedicate themselves to helping others, come rain or hail―or winter storm Jonas.
The Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad wants to thank the many individuals involved with our ability to respond to the community’s needs during Winter Storm Jonas.
Between midnight Friday until midnight Monday the squad’s volunteer staff, along with the county career staff assigned to our station on Catoctin Circle, responded to a total of 76 emergency calls. This, compared to an average of 12 calls per day, put extremely high demands on the EMTs, medics and firefighters on duty during the storm.
I would like to publicly thank all of the men and women of the Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad and the squad’s auxiliary for the many hours they put in before, during and after the storm. Those long hours allowed us to continue to provide emergency medical care for the community.
The same goes for our county career counterpart – thank you. It was truly a team effort.
Lastly, I want to make the public aware of the outstanding support that we received from community members. When many roads were impassable, we had to park quite a distance from patients’ homes. In some cases, we then walked through unplowed snow for, in some cases, close to a mile.
Many times community members helped dig paths for us, helped move patients from their homes and in general came to our aide while we were providing care to their neighbors. Community members also helped dig out our ambulances when we too got stuck in the snow. For everyone’s efforts and teamwork, I want to thank you.
Anthony P. Mino
Chief of Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad—613
Leesburg Town Council’s request to the state legislature to explore converting Leesburg from a town to an independent city is very poorly timed and, in itself, demonstrates that the council is unprepared for the additional demands of city-hood.
As an independent city, Leesburg would be a completely separate jurisdiction from Loudoun County and would be required to perform and raise taxes for all government functions, including creating, running and funding a Leesburg City School District.
With council unable to get a simple majority vote to fill the vacant mayor’s slot, can anyone reasonably imagine these people ably dealing with the full-scale responsibilities of running a city?
A new Leesburg City would be required to reimburse Loudoun County a proportion of any county debt existing at the date the town becomes a city. The Virginia Code (§ 15.2-3829) is very clear on this matter and requires the reimbursement of any debt existing on any school district of which the town was a part.
Loudoun County’s 2016 debt is $1,510,727,342 and grows $150 million-plus every year. Leesburg’s population is about 15 percent of the county and, thus, that equates to a 15 percent payment of about $225 million.
Leesburg currently holds $96 million in debt and has an available capacity of $70 million – well below the $225 million needed. Leesburg residents and businesses would see a dramatic increase in the taxes Leesburg would levy to cover hundreds of millions of dollars of additional debt.
In an online exchange with Leesburg Councilman Dave Butler, he stated that Leesburg plans on leveraging Leesburg City’s additional tax revenues to increase their borrowing capacity. He also stated that negotiating schools and debt reimbursement are key issues.
Leesburg recently couldn’t agree with the county on the funding for a single resource officer at the Douglass School. How messy will the Leesburg-Loudoun divorce be when such large sums of money are involved?
One unintended consequence of the Leesburg Council’s poorly timed actions was noted by Supervisor Matt Letourneau who astutely questioned whether the county’s downtown expansion should proceed. If Leesburg is to be a wholly separate jurisdiction, then why should the county risk paying tens of millions of dollars to expand its presence in a location that potentially may not be in Loudoun County in a few years?
Why should the county send direct and indirect future tax revenues to a different jurisdiction? Why should the county continue to deal with a town that complains when its marquis employer wants to demolish three old buildings or expand parking?
One can logically deduce that Leesburg Council’s strategy is to stick the county with as much debt as possible and take the county’s tax revenue. It is hard to see this move as anything more than Leesburg Council’s naked attempt to flow more money through their fingers to increase the power and influence of council members.