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Loudoun County administrator proposes $2.5B budget that would keep taxes level

County Administrator Tim Hemstreet on Wednesday night proposed a $2.5 billion budget for fiscal 2018, a spending plan based on Board of Supervisors guidance to present a budget at the estimated equalized real property tax rate of $1.135 per $100 in assessed value.

The equalized rate is the figure that keeps taxes level for the average homeowner.

Within Hemstreet's proposed budget, the total transfer of county funds to Loudoun County Schools would come just $3.5 million shy of the school system's adopted budget for the coming fiscal year. The LCPS allocation is up $61 million year-over-year.

The proposed spending plan also includes funds for the county’s employee merit pay program and includes resources for about 189 new full-time equivalent positions in various departments, including those necessary to open new county facilities such as the Dulles South Multipurpose Center, Kirkpatrick Farms Fire Rescue Station, the Brambleton Library and the Ashburn’s Sheriff Station. 

While 2018 “presents a better economic picture than the previous year,” Hemstreet said resources remain constrained. He noted that the county’s population continues to increase, which brings an increased demand for services.

The county administrator said the proposed budget was developed in a better economic environment than that of fiscal 2017, due to improved external economic factors and revenues. Loudoun property values continue to increase; the average assessed value of a single family home in 2017 is $454,700, an increase of 2.4 percent over 2016. There has also been significant growth in personal property.

In the proposed 2018 budget, Hemstreet replaced the local gasoline tax that had supported Loudoun County Transit operations with local tax funding. This replacement, according to county officials, will allow Loudoun County transit operations to be funded in the base budget in fiscal 2019. The aim is to have the county's general fund better prepared its upcoming financial obligation for Metrorail in fiscal 2019 because local gasoline tax will be diverted from county operations to help pay for Metrorail.

The amended fiscal 2017–2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totals $2.012 billion for the six-year planning period. The category with the largest expenditure percentage is transportation projects at 39 percent, or $789 million, followed by school projects at 32 percent, or $631 million.

The proposed CIP accelerates the opening date of a new high school in the Dulles South area by one year to the fall of 2020. The proposed CIP also maintains funding for high priority general government projects.

Hemstreet has advertised a real property tax rate of $1.140 to provide the board with options to fund the Loudoun County Public Schools’ budget request and to fund additional county budget requests.

The proposed budget is balanced at the equalized tax rate of $1.135, which is 1 cent lower than the current tax rate.

The personal property tax rate of $4.20 would remain unchanged under 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 fiscal 2018 budget expected on April 4.

The board will hold three public hearings on the proposed FY 2018 budget. The hearings are scheduled for: Feb. 28 at 6 p.m., Board Room, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg; March 2 at 3 p.m., Board Room, Loudoun County Government Center; and March 4, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn

Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings may sign up in advance for one speaking slot beginning Feb. 16 by calling 703-777-0204.


SGP - no surprise that you misrepresent what I wrote.

If a voter thinks that this $80 savings is significant enough to cut, delay, or reduce programs and services, then they should voice their opinion about it.  What you and others are doing, though, is trying to scare people into thinking that there are huge (yuge) savings to be had - this is simply not true.  Despite you best attempts, you cannot change the magnitude or the math.

Callme and the Dems say hey, what’s a few $M’s if we break it down to the smallest level.  It’s not their money being thrown around, right?  But it is.  You see, Callme and the rest want to use the force of the gov’t to take citizens’ property (their $$) and transfer it to their paychecks since they work for the county gov’t.

Callme and the rest have no problem with knowingly inflated budget projections.  The $34M of extra slush funds in the LCPS budget (couldn’t even spend this in the regular operating budget until the end-of-year goodie period rolled around) could be used to lower the tax rate to $1.11.

Orange is correct.  If any of these supervisors were voting to waste that $34M when it originated from their own household or business, it wouldn’t be wasted.  And the tax rate would slowly drop.  We need to remind the BOS whose money that is and that it should be spent on needs, not wants.

To set the number straight, orange (Jonathon) is proposing a $80 cut (before federal taxes, $60 after fed taxes) on a $400,000 home.  Not to say this is not a worthwhile goal but let’s keep some perspective.  Escrow amounts won’t even move for that small of an amount ($7 a month).  Come talk to me when you can save me $50+ per month.

If this was Hemstreet’s or the individual BoS members own money I bet they would say it is time to roll taxes back to $1.11 per hundred.

17% increase in the school budget in 2 years, fire that piece of digested baloney superintendent.

I love how they always say that taxes will stay level for the average homeowner…well my assessment came in the mail a few days ago and my total taxable value went up 14k.  So i guess that won’t be applying to me once again.  I would like to know what areas of loudoun did not have a increase in value?

Is that really the question? Should the BOS raise or lower the 1.135 rate? How about explaining why the following appear to be true yet unresolved all of which affect the value of property in Loudoun?
Why hasn’t the assessment of land owned by 1757 gold course or the Redskins increased over the last 15 plus years?
Why doesn’t HHMI or the hospitals pay ANY property tax?
Why are the MWAA parking lots which serve the metro able to avoid paying property tax?
Why are extremely small lots with multiple overlay districts controlling them assessed as if a standard home could be efficiently built on the land?
Why are large developer controlled lots which are in the process of being given higher residential intensity approval allowed to stay in the surplus land or other tax exception categories?
Why aren’t lots land banked for future schools in western Loudoun so the incredible multiple (Riverside H.S. as the example) over what average school sites cost can be avoided?
Why are artificial turf fields approved as investments WITHOUT financial analysis to justify the premium especially when the land already has access to free water via a water well system?
Why isn’t there any action by the BOS to mandate VDOT provide at least their own minimum published standards for all roads in Loudoun VDOT is responsible for?
Let’s start considering what the tax rate should be by establishing what level of fairness and competence makes up the foundation of such a burden to be put on the residing population besides unresolved traffic!
Bob O__ Esq.

In the FY16 budget, auditors noted LCPS couldn’t even spend $34M of their funding. That followed $14M and $24M in past years.

LCPS is now asking for more funding on top of its excessive budget including another $10M for teachers who almost never transfer to another district (teachers are transferring in not out). They waste the taxpayer $ because 4 of the school board members have spouses to gain from such unnecessary raises.

If the BOS doesn’t want a concerted campaign against them in 2019, they should rein in the wasteful LCSB.

The BOS is up for election in 2019. The LCPS audits for school years 2014/2015/2015 showed it was provided $14M/$24M/$34M more than it could even spend.

The 2017 audit will be completed around Dec 2017 and is on track to generate $40M more than LCPS can spend.

This FY18 budget is the last one the BOS will pass resulting in an audit before the 2019 election.  LCPS has knowingly inflated their requests for years so they could have end-of-year goodies.

If the BOS fully funds this inflated LCPS budget request, we will mercilessly campaign against each one that approved it using every media channel available. Last chance.

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