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Loudoun supervisors address business community on top issues

From left, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) addressed the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce about top issues facing the county and Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) joined to address attendees during the Q&A. Times-Mirror/Veronike Collazo
With the start of a new year, Loudoun faces several challenges, but with every challenge, there is also progress, three Loudoun supervisors told the county business community at a Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Thursday.

Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) spoke on several topics, including a strained transportation system, the arrival of Metro, the Envision Loudoun Comprehensive Plan process, a housing shortage and growing costs and budgets.

Randall noted the Envision Loudoun process, compensation and class study and Metro capital funding as challenges the board is facing.

Higgins said that while he was one of the members from the past board who voted against bringing Metro to Loudoun, he is optimistic that the county will find solutions to the financial and safety challenges facing the mass transit system.

Buona said the Metro is on schedule for testing and Loudoun residents should see services to Ashburn in 2020. Of the three parking garages Loudoun has pledged to build, one is almost done and the other two are going through the design process and will be done by May 2019.

The tax district revenue is on target with the 2011 projections and land value around the Metro stations has increased, Buona also said.

Buona expanded on Randall’s identification of capital Metro costs as a challenge facing Loudoun, saying that it is largely due to Metro’s mismanagement and neglect of the system.

“It’s one thing to fix an escalator, it’s another to put another tunnel under the Potomac,” Buona said.

The board is considering allocating gas tax funds — which are generally used for transportation — to specifically help fund Metro.

Buona and Higgins also touched on the budget. Higgins said one of the challenges is balancing the school system’s budgetary needs with the needs of the rest of the county. Loudoun County Public Schools' budget makes up around 70 percent of the total county budget, Higgins said.

“We’ve come a long way from October,” Buona said. “We have a bright outlook. Revenues are way up.”

Buona credited part of the increase to the work of the Department of Economic Development.

On transportation, Buona said the traffic light at Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road will go away in a matter of weeks and the bridge will open, prompting cheers from the crowd. He also told attendees that the county has most of the funds for the Battlefield Parkway interchange.

The board is also hearing additional plans to relieve traffic around the county. Higgins said Loudoun is one of the only jurisdiction that dedicates a specific portion of the tax revenue to transportation uses. The county has dedicated over $800 million to transportation in the CIP, Higgins said.

Buona also asked for the chamber’s help. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) proposed in his budget to take 35 percent of local tax revenue from Northern Virginia counties to use for Metro and to part of the state that doesn’t pay this additional sales tax. This money is used by Loudoun for roads, Buona said.

“We need new state money in the Metro, not stealing Northern Virginia’s money and putting it in the Metro,” Buona said.

Moving forward, Randall said the county will continue to work within the Envision Loudoun process in figuring out strategies for growth, continue supporting economic development, fostering stronger relationships with towns and focus more on the rural economy and farmland preservation.


Comments


So Loudoun is still suffering from the stupidity of the illustrious Ken “Flip Flop” Reid who changed his vote at the very last minute and voted for Loudoun to join the Washington Metro cesspool. How that idiot ever managed to get elected to ANY office is beyond me. Perhaps withdrawing entirely from the Metro should be investigated and done if at all feasible.


Business management discipline REQUIRES knowing what the top issues are:
Causality dictates understanding what causes these issues to be problems so a resolution can at least be fashioned and worked on so why is this approach a problem?
“including a strained transportation system, the arrival of Metro, the Envision Loudoun Comprehensive Plan process, a housing shortage and growing costs and budgets.”
Let’s divide the issues into real problems:
1 It is the approval of higher density residential developments that clearly exacerbates the “transportation problem” and “the budget problem” so what is the commitment to stop making counterproductive approvals the last few boards have done? Interstate commutation is also a contributor to the “transportation problem” yet the Metro is not a solution as the W. VA and MD commuters are still going to have to drive through most of Loudoun to get to the Metro!
2 Low cost housing should not be a problem if the BOS would approve studio and one bedroom apartments rather than the 3 bedroom student generating complexes. Why aren’t there any housing developments that are only for single professionals like teachers, firemen, police etc?
Finally if any of the BOS really believe the governor is supportive of Loudoun then ask him to work toward the transfer of Dulles Airport parking lots back to Loudoun from the federal government and stop the theft of over $200 million per year from what Loudoun should get back for education from sales tax (under the composite index)! If budget is an issue why the——isn’t HHMI paying any property taxes?
Its not complicated but it does require better management practices and better networking between local, state and federal authorities.
Bob Ohneiser Esq.


How funny, who really trusts riding the metro??? And it will take 50-100 years for businesses to see any rewards from the metro to Loudoun. In the meantime we will be taxed even more to pay for a money pit system(Metro). Very few will use metro, bus service is much better.


Thinks about this naive quote: “We need new state money in the Metro, not ‘stealing’ Northern Virginia’s money”.

Buona, having pushed hard to get Metro, apparently didn’t think NOVA citizens would have to pay for it.  I guess he thinks the citizens of SW Virginia or Richmond should have to pony up their tax $$ to pay for Metro in Loudoun so the BOS won’t have to face the consequences of their decision. 

This is beyond delusional.  I always remind everybody that we want to minimize how much state taxes we pay so we aren’t subsidizing other Virginia regions.  We should pay for our own projects and not for others’.  Those regions aren’t stupid either.  They aren’t going to bail Buona, Letourneau, and the rest of the pro-Metro Supervisors out.  At least have the courage to tell Loudoun citizens they are stuck with this bill that you intentionally underestimated.


A far cry the BoS is from the best and the brightest we have to offer. If you can vote for any incumbent in 2019 you are part of the problem. Nothing redeeming about the BoS exists!

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