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    All three referendums pass

    All three Loudoun County referendums passed Nov. 8 and will provide $172.6 million in funding for the construction of four new schools, a much needed renovation at Park View High School, emergency services equipment and a change in the voting dates for Leesburg Town Council.

    The Acquisition of Fire and Rescue Apparatus bond passed with 72 percent of voters voting yes. The Election date change passed with 75 percent of voters choosing yes and The School Bond passed with 58 percent of voters approving.

    The School Bond referendum, costing $169.6 million, will cover more than 98 percent of the $172.6 million and cover the construction of the new Moorefield Station Elementary School or ES-16 for $22.83 million; the new Ashburn Area Elementary School or ES-22 for $22.83 million; the new Ashburn Area Middle School or MS-6 for $39.38 million; the new Ashburn Area High School or HS-8 for $81 million; and $3.57 million of renovations to Park View High School.

    These new schools are needed because schools throughout the county, especially in Ashburn, are already overcrowded and an influx of 3,000 students are expected to be entering the school system over the foreseeable future. Since 1991, Loudoun County has built 46 new schools and seen its student population explode from 15,118 students to an estimated 66,266 students in 2011.

    The Board of Supervisors selected general obligation bonds to fund new schools because they have historically been sold with a 20-year repayment schedule for construction projects. Due to this 20-year schedule, the expected new population will be able to help pay for the new schools.

    With the passing of the school bond, Loudoun County residents will not be impacted for the Tax Year 2011. However future tax bills will be required to meet annual payments based on property values.

    According to a request by LCPS from Loudoun County Government ‘s Department of Management and Financial Services, those values are estimated at $100,000 will pay $18.06; $350,000 will pay $63.22; and $500,000 will pay $90.32.

    As a result of the passing of the Acquisition of Fire and Rescue Apparatus bond Loudoun County will receive emergency equipment at various stations throughout the county.

    According to Deputy Chief Howard J. Dawley, the majority of the funds will go to funding eight new capital vehicles – both to replace vehicles that have exceeded their service life and for acquiring new vehicles for yet-to-open stations.

    There are three vehicle purchases that will be funded completely by the county: a tanker for Lovettsville (as requested by the Lovettsville Volunteer Fire Department), a pumper for Aldie (requested by the Aldie Volunteer Fire Department) and a tanker for the Western Loudoun Station, endorsed by the Fire and Rescue Commission. If granted, the latter vehicle will be garaged at the pending Rt. 671 fire-rescue facility.

    Additional purchases include an ambulance for the Route 28 Station, which may ultimately be set up as a jointly-funded project with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad, a pumper for Lovettsville proposed as a 40 percent county contribution and a pumper for Route 28 Station proposed as a 50 percent county contribution.

    Finally, both an ambulance for Ashburn and for Arcola are proposed as 59 percent county contributions. The Ashburn ambulance will be garaged at the Ashburn Volunteer Fire-Rescue Station and the latter at the Brambleton Fire-Rescue Station, a pending facility awaiting relocation of the Arcola Fire-Rescue Company.

    In addition to voting for candidates, the town of Leesburg also had to decide whether they wanted to switch town election dates from May to November, which will go into effect in 2012.

    The town has their elections set up to elect a new mayor ever two years and new council members every four during even year election. With three council members on the two year rotation with the mayor and ever two years there are three different council members up for election.

    They used to take place in May rather than November in order to keep the focus on town issues rather than having them in November when presidential and federal elections are happening.

    The Town of Leesburg was petitioned back in February by Barbara Bayles Roberts who gave them 2,400 signatures from people who wanted to see the election change on the ballot.

    During the meeting in February, Roberts mentioned that the separate election dates were costing the town more money with less voter turnout. But, what many town officials feel is that if the election date is moved to November the town issues will get lost.

    Staff Writers Matt Vecchio and Laura Peters contributed to this report.

    Comments

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    @Laugh. It was Democrats, TWO years ago, who first endorsed candidates in non-partisan races. Let’s not go tit for tat and call people names, let’s just get back to non-partisan politics in local elections.


    Oh yes we’re always on duty looking for flagrant violations. You’ll be receiving your citation in the mail any day now.


    Barry Soetoro-  My apologies - I was not aware the vocabulary police were on duty.


    I didn’t realize that ‘residence’ meant people but I guess it does to Chris. Study vocabulary much? You should probably go back to LCPS and get yourself one of those I-pads…


    The passage of the school bond is disappointing.  It will be interesting to see what the new school board and BOS does.  As I’ve stated before, we are at our maximum debt-to-revenue ratio (10%) right now.  If property values don’t rise (thereby increasing tax revenue), they will have to 1. Increase Property Taxes or 2. Cut the Budget, 70% of which is the school budget.  Things are about to get very interesting budget-wise.

    One note of solace (at least to myself) is that while the ballot measure authorizes the indebtedness it doesn’t obligate.  Meaning, they don’t have to borrow it, but they are legally authorized to.  I hope the new Boards give these schools a new level of scrutiny to show that they mean business on their campaign promises and I’d like to see them tackle spending head-on by squeezing as much cost out of these new construction projects as possible, or even finding ways to aleviate the problems without building the new schools.


    I am amazed at how easily these bond referendums pass - just add the word school and approval is seemingly assured.  Do voters understand the costs associated with these bonds to current and future taxpayers in this county? 

    Approval of these bonds equates to the acceptance of current/future tax increases in an indirect manner.  Even if building new schools is completely justified, full disclosure of the bond costs and potential tax increases should be made. 

    Perhaps the issue of runaway/unsustainable population growth in this county should be the focal point rather than the government’s futile efforts to keep up with it. 

    Most residence, myself included, live in Loudoun but work elsewhere (Ffx, DC) - efforts to attract small business to this county have consistently failed.


    @Chris, hopefully they are implementing the tablet program in a cross-section of schools (i.e. wealthy/high achieving and poorer/lower achieving) and grades before rolling out county-wide, and then figuring out the true cost—assuming some degree of damage/misuse/etc. has already been factored into these estimates.

    Are textbooks rented from LCPS and returned at the end of the year (as was the case when I went to school so many years ago), or do the students in a given grade get issued a whole new set of books at the start of the year?


    How often do mathematical theorems change? How many new elements have been added to the periodic table in your lifetime? Wake up people! There is nothing wrong with working from old textbooks. We certainly don’t need the latest frivolous new edition on iPads. This is the kind of fat in the LCPS budget.

    The only textbooks where it might be justifiable to have the latest updates are history books. Even then ... Is it really cost-effective to keep buying new ones every year?


    Why is there even discussion of replacing books with iPads?  In an ideal world, they might save money.  In the real world, how long do you think the average iPad would last before it gets dropped, accidentally slammed in a locker door, stepped on in somebody’s backpack, etc.?  How many do you think would be stolen?  How many kids do you think would find ways to screw around and play games on them during class (even if LCPS did manage to find a way to lock them down, sooner or later the kids would find a way around the security).  How many kids would show up to school having forgotten to charge theirs beforehand?  The whole concept is total idiocy.


    I have to say, until now I had no view of Barbara Bayles-Roberts.  But now she has proven to be a liar.  She proclaims that Republicans did not endorse on town elections.  LIE.  Just last year, there was a republican sample ballot with Ken Reid on it.  So, Ms. Bayles-Roberts, you get the LIAR of the Day Award.


    Caring parent - Hatrick is an egomaniac power freak.  Sure he gets lots of perks but his motivation appears driven by insatiable hunger for power and domination. Power to approve who gets to build those new buildings, power to approve who gets to fill them with equipment, power to take away civil rights of students.  It is all about power.  Push for iPads is all about his “legacy”.  In my 60 years, I’ve never seen anyone more self-absorbed and arrogant.  Freud would suggest an overbearing mother.


    @Caring Parent - well I consider myself a ‘right winger’ as you put it, but I still think teacher salaries are way too low - as are numerous other positions within the LCPS system. Have you ever driven by or gone into the LCPS headquarters building in Ashburn? That grandiose palace is where the taxpayers money gets divided up among countless “administrators” and bureaucrats who enjoy huge salaries paid for by you & me. There are so many “administrators” who make well over $120,000 a year that work in that building. Now the talk is all about I-pads for every student? Really? Meanwhile countless teachers are forced to live out in Berryville or even further because they can’t afford to live in the County where they teach. Yet Mr. Hatrick has never addressed this situation to my knowledge. He is an advocate for the growth of the bureaucracy - not for the employees and teachers and from my perspective not for the children either.


    @ticked off voter. What you say makes sense about money going towards bells and whistles in schools versus money going toward teacher salaries or other needs. I agree, even though I still do not follow how Hatrick benefits from fancy schools. So the question is who decides what goes into each new school building? Can the new school board have impact here? If money was saved here, I know many like me would agree that the money saved would be better used going toward increasing teacher salaries and/or hiring more teachers to lower class size. Then again these newspaper boards are filled with right wingers, private school families, and home school families hollering that teachers make enough money. They want both: schools without bells and whistles and teachers to be satisfied with what they earn in our county. It’s a lose/lose with that group. It could be Hatrick at the helm or somebody else and it wouldn’t matter unless taxes go down.


    To Caring Parent - look I have two kids in elementary school & my wife teaches for LCPS. Yet I stand by my position. I understand the county needs to build schools. It’s the sheer size and cost that disturbs me. If Hatrick put one tenth as much effort into increasing employee salaries as he does at aquiring land and bells & whistles, I’d pipe down. But he doesn’t do that. He is paid extremely well for being a politician and he’s quite good at it - sorry but that’s what he is - a politician.


    Lots of people complain about “King Hatrick” on these boards. Does he himself benefit from getting the most money he can for the school system? I thought that was his job. What am I missing? What other motivation would he have? Call me naive but I don’t get it. Someone please explain.


    Oh great - more debt for ridiculously oversized campuses that rival small colleges in some states…some day the debts will come due…but King Hatrick doesn’t care about that - only more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger…


    more firetrucks and emergency vehicles please.  I won’t be happy till we have 15 vehicles at every fender bender (we’re halfway there now, I’m sure). 

    Hoping someday sanity returns and this public-safety/industrial complex gets put back in the box.


    Lovettsville happy to have county buy them a park and now more fire equipment, but Mayor and local reps don’t want Sheriff assigned to protect vandalized businesses, and esp do not want schools that reduce tax burden.  No value for their children, families and small businesses.


    Ah what a thorn in the Republicans victory this is!!!! I take pleasure in that since I voted for a mixed bag of candidates and don’t follow party lines. As far as this bond is concerned, I am not going to lie and say I know what is the best financial method to pay for new schools—bonds vs school budget. But what I do know is that our schools are overcrowded. We would see higher test scores if teachers had smaller class sizes. 25 is just too big. So if that means expanding existing schools or building new schools and hiring more teachers, I am willing to pay more taxes. And I still will be happy to do that for future generations when my 3 kids graduate. Certainly how we go about building the new schools is a matter for review—-the land acquisition process, the “frills” that the school may not need, and so forth. But we need new schools, there is no doubt about that.


    Will the county average SAT score improve now that they have a new building to learn in? Oh, not even mentioned.


    Awesome I guess iPads and whiteboards for all.


    “Due to this 20-year schedule, the expected new population will be able to help pay for the new schools.”

    Yes, that’s how it works.  No payments on these schools this years; however, taxpayers are now paying for schools built from 1991 to 2010 and about $50 million a year in interest on those bonds!

    Bonds make sense when localities are faced with occasional large capital expenses.  The Dulles Metro is a good example.  But when Loudoun has been growing rapidly for 20 years and projected to continue to grow well in the future, and several schools need to be built every year, then it makes no sense to issue bonds and pay the interest.

    What Loudouners just voted for was about $80 million in bond interest payments!


    The liberal media press has their own agenda, don’t forget that now.


    This is an historical moment folks!  Never have so many people voted on a Town issue before.  Think about that!  Seven thousand voted in November, while we were lucky if 2400 voters showed up in May!  These office holders, for the next year at least, are now accountable to more voters than ever before.  We can now rightly state that this is to be a non-partisan race. Even with Democrats telling voters to vote NO on the question, they voted YES anyway!  Now we can insist that they remain non-partisan.  No more endorsements.  I must add here that the Republican Party never endorsed any issue on Town elections.  Only Democrats did that.  It is time to stop the partisan-ship. We need real solutions from real leaders and that is what this election says to all incumbents and those new to the political arena in Leesburg.  Hurray!  It is indeed a new day in Virginia!


    Moving the Town of Leesburg elections from May to November is a big victory.


    Moving the Town of Leesburg elections from May to November is a big mistake.

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