Proposed Budget Fiscal 2021 | Hemstreet 1

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet and county staff present the proposed fiscal 2021 budget to the Board of Supervisors.

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet on Wednesday presented his proposed fiscal 2021 budget totaling $3.024 billion in appropriations for the county government and public schools.

Hemstreet said his spending plan is balanced at the tax rate at $1.035 per $100 in assessed value -- one cent less than the current tax rate of $1.045 -- based on the final assessment portfolio from the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue.

The proposed budget does not carry the equalized tax rate – that which keeps taxes steady for the average homeowner. The equalized rate for this coming budget year is $1.01.

In 2020, the average homeowner's tax bill in Loudoun County was $5,162. Under the proposed tax rate of 1.035, bills would increase by two percent to an average of $5,272.

Supporting the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and addressing employee pay are among the priorities the administrator presented to the Board of Supervisors. The county is also opening new facilities, supporting board initiatives and addressing various departments’ top priorities.

“ … I believe that the proposed budget not only meets the needs of our organization and our community, it is also responsible, executable and sustainable,” Hemstreet said in a prepared statement.

The spending plan includes the addition of 150 positions in 25 different departments to maintain or enhance current service levels, open new facilities and support other priorities.

Additional highlights include an increase of more than $75 million to fund all but $2.5 million of LCPS' budget request of nearly $1.38 billion and $37.2 million for employee compensation that consists of: $12.2 million to provide a market-competitive 3.5% pay increase for general workforce employees and public safety step increases, continuing the county’s merit and step compensation program; and $25 million to cover the annualized cost of the implementation of the new classification and compensation system.

One of the most notable budget challenges, according to county officials, is implementing the new classification and compensation structure for the county government, which is aimed at improving pay for county employees.

Other factors shaping the budget include the increased funding for the CIP and debt service. An additional $49.3 million over the previous fiscal year is included in Hemstreet's budget to fulfill county debt and capital obligations, which is higher than previous years, according to county staff.

The budget includes $15 million in local gas tax funding for the county's contribution to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and for the operational and capital payments for the anticipated start of Metrorail’s Silver Line revenue service in Loudoun during fiscal 2021.

Hemstreet also presented the amended fiscal 2021-2026 CIP, which includes both county and school projects at $2.9 billion for the six-year planning period.

The category with the largest expenditure percentage is transportation projects at 40%. Some of the new transportation projects in the CIP include widening a portion of eastbound Route 7 between Loudoun County Parkway and Route 28 and an intersection improvement on Shellhorn Road.

Other new projects in the CIP include two board-directed projects: the Broad Run Farms Waterline Extension and planning for a linear parks and trails system, as well as county-designated critical technology infrastructure projects.

The board is expected to adopt the budget during its April 7 business meeting. Three public hearings on the budget are scheduled for:

-Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Board Room, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, SE in Leesburg; and

-Feb. 29 at 9 a.m., Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court in Ashburn.

Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings can sign up in advance for one speaking slot, beginning Feb. 13, by calling 703-777-0204. More information about Hemstreet's budget proposal can be found at Loudoun.gov/budget.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version to clarify County Administrator Tim Hemstreet's proposed budget does not carry the equalized tax rate.

(31) comments

Loudoun4Trump

Time for a new county administrator....

DavisB

why do you think the administrator is not doing a good job - tax rates and budget come from the Board

ace10

I guess the folks in Loudoun who lived on fixed income should REALLY appreciate the notion that they ought to be thankful the county has raised their property taxes, because it means that they are more wealthy now. Be sure to thank a (D) for that!

amerigirl

Yes they should They could sell their property and have so many options on what to do with all that money. Most people on a fixed income are retired and with what they would get for their Loudoun home the would have option for a retirement home.

Jeanne T

And where might they move?

amerigirl

Jeanne, as I just said, retirement home or community, Lots of retirees move south where it's warmer. Why does it matter? There are lots of options and asking only sounds like there are no options. Widen your horizon.

BobOhneiserEsq

Virginia SGP . I feel your pain but until the majority of voters vote in local elections the partisan controls will continue. If we had a deep recession or a virus issue that shut down LCPS ALL the employees would still be paid while companies would lay off workers. That is why gov't payrolls should not be treated equally to the competitive labor landscape which runs on marginal utility not politics. The current inflation is about 1.6% so where is the justification for higher raises other than vote pandering? Thats the point! With about 16-20,000 county employees who most likely vote it seems pretty obvious what the motivation is regardless of what it does to the tax rate. Given how much my assessment went up this year I would need a .96/hundred rate to get to equalized. I wonder who Howard Hughes Institute donates to to continue to have their taxes waived. I also wonder why our legislators aren't bothered by the Greenway being under assessed by about $500 million. Don't worry about how much you pay as long as we get that serious confederate statue problem fixed. :-)

applicant45554

Amen Bob. Good point as always

DavisB

Oh, Bob. Are you forgetting that students earn credit for the entire year of school so if the schools were closed for an extended time, teachers would find a way to teach the material in the time they have - they would not skip critical content just because there might be a few less days - this is why we hire professionals to teach (but there are no requirements to be a Supervisor). Also, even in times of recession, schools are still open - are you really suggesting we close the schools when fincances are tough.

Oh, Bob

Virginia SGP

DavisB, you mean the "professionals" who instill 2 fewer months of learning in their students than an average teacher in Virginia? We have numerous teachers who fall in the bottom 20 percentiles of teachers. Those students get months less of knowledge each school year. We should be retaining and keeping only those teachers in the higher percentiles and giving new teachers a chance. But we don't. We protect all, including the horrible ones.

Teachers have absolute job security more than any other profession. All studies show that workers are willing to take less pay for such job security. So why exacly do we ever compare teachers to high-risk positions like salespeople or contractors?

DavisB

teach two fewer months? what are you talking about?

This nonsensical post comes from the guy who this week wrote on Facebook, "the best way to stop racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Brilliant!!!

Virginia SGP

The amount of knowledge imparted by the least effective teachers in LCPS (or anywhere in Virginia or the US) is equivalent to 2 full months of instruction each year. I'm sorry that you are so ignorant of education research.

As to the racial discrimination, we have folks asking the Academies to discriminate (for blacks and HIspanics and against Asians) on the basis of race. Do you support that? Why would you support discrimination on the basis of race?

DavisB

Sorry, SGP, but you do not get to twist your own words and make them someone else's. You wrote what I quoted and you should own up to exactly how it sounds.

Regarding teachers, still not sure where you come to the conclusion that Loudoun students are being treated to such sorry education - so many of our schools rank in the top of the state and even in the country - for you to try to sell us on that our kids are being taught two months less worth of material each year is absurd, but not unexpected considering who is writing

amerigirl

Bob, are you saying that the cost and raises throughout the country should be the same? That is like saying] that houses of the same size should be uniform no matter where you live. Isn’t it true that if you live in certain areas that the cost of living is higher? Wouldn’t that be reflected in the payrate and raises being higher? The tax break for the Howard Hughes Institute came under Scott York. The board could seek to have the exemptions revoked, but the General Assembly would have the final say. But Howard Hughes Institute is also a world-class biomedical research center and a nonprofit who donates approximately $1 million annual support for science education through the Loudoun County Public School District. Janella also hosts a quarterly public lecture series for the public. Why do you think the Greenway is under assessed by about $500 million? It is assessed at $381.8 million, 2018, TRIP II paid $4.39 million in real estate taxes alone. I guess if your white that “serious confederate statue” is a problem or even the slightest bit intimidating. [huh]

hardworkingamerican

What a scam. Look at your new tax assessment. The land stays the same and your home goes up 15 to 20k when you have done nothing to it? They are all incompetent in every area. We need to clean house, tear it down and start over from scratch. Meanwhile our infrastructure crumbles and our schools that need security upgrades get nothing. Over worked SROs SSOs and others get more work and less pay. The supposed increase in pay was hidden in the form of a Non-exempt to exempt status change which is not even legal if you take the classification questionnaire which just stopped them from paying overtime. It doesn't really matter, because Bloomberg is going to take over Loudoun County and finish forming the Socialist Communist Democratic Party where HR 177 already is waiting to give our electoral votes to whomever California votes for in their popular vote. So no need to have a real ID Wexton, because our votes don't and won't count anyway. This county is out of control, spending is out of control, taxing is out of control and people who support this move to Venezuelan Socialism, all I can say is, there is the border don't let the flag hit you in the tale on the way out. Turn VA RED (Remove Every Democrat) for life. Tear this corrupt thing down and let's drain the swamp in Virginia starting with Governor "Coon Man" Northam. Take back VA in 2020.

amerigirl

hard. It really doesn't matter if you have done nothing to the structure, it still has increased in value. What they are saying is that you house would sell for more this year than last year. They compare the rates of similar homes in the area. Do you honestly think that your home didn't increase in value? You can call them all the names you want but that isn't going to change the fact that this happens almost every year and it doesn't matter who is in office. Did you go this crazy when it went up and the republicans were in charge? Your comment on votes is skewed and is nothing more than a rant.

mopar19

So where in loudoun did the house prices go down? Tax bill be 231 dollars more this year.

amerigirl

You are in Loudoun. the prices won't go down, it was because of an overage that the assessments went down last year. The rate went down but you assessment went up.

Virginia SGP

This is obscene!

The equalized tax rate is $1.01 because of the absolute flood of datacenter revenue. Rather than give that back to the rightful owners (taxpaying residents and businesses), this tax-and-spend admin Hemstreet and the spendthrift BOS just love to spend OPM (other people's money) on their friends and staff.

It appears to consist of a staggering 10.5% average pay raise across the board!!! It costs $12.5M to give a 3.5% average increase. They then tack on another $25M in a "classification" raise plan. That's 10.5%. These folks are as crooked as a dog's hind leg.

They are hiring 3 full-time "communications" folks to help with their propaganda. They are hiring 36 (count them 36) FTEs to help with parks, recreation and "culture". What the heck is that! Another 16 bureaucrates for "general government administration"!!! Are these gophers?

To say this budget is "responsible" is like saying buying a 10-yr-old a Mercedez SL600 is "prudent" or "measured". They could pay down our debts so we don't have large increases in debt service costs. Or they could cut the tax rate by 10 cents (once again, LoCo has a $100M+ surplus/slush fund built into the FY19 budget and this one too). These *$&*#$& have a nearly $400M account balance because they lowball the revenue estimates so much. Complete corruption.

applicant45554

Good post. Probably not too much of an exaggeration. No way workload increased that much.

jke

Breaks down to a 200 dollar increase in our property taxes.

ace10

$1.035 is the equalized rate... my rear end it is. I've spoken to MANY people who have received their assessment reports for next year. NOBODY is seeing a value increase of only 0.96%, which is the inverse of the delta between the current rate ($1.045) and this proposed rate($1.035). Most, if not all, are in the +4 to 6% range. BOHICA.

applicant45554

Mine went up 4-6%

amerigirl

How do you figure? You made that statement before a real estate tax was even set.

More Cowbell

I'm up about $30K, basically this tax on my house/land has gone up 27 out of 30 years living in Loudoun. Those big raises the BOS voted on didn't mean we got anyone better, they'll still give out blank checks to LCPS, charities outside Loudoun and allow Developers to build 2-5 times as many houses over original plan. Keep claiming we need more affordable housing, yet townhomes going for $1.25+ million, just wow.

amerigirl

I bet it went down for last years taxes. Mine went down -1.54%. I wouldn't expect homes to devalue in Loudoun. Even if the tax rate stays the same your home is still worth more this year and you could sell it for more. Face it, you're making money on your home, it's an investment.

More Cowbell

@amerigirl, no it went up last year and the year before. Whenever the assessment for house goes down, the property goes up to offset. Nice little scam going on in Loudoun. Taxes gone up 27 out of 30 years of living in Loudoun. I never assume my house to be an investment, there are many that take a loss or stop paying(foreclose).

amerigirl

Cowbell, I can see taxes always going up since the property value goes up. I think you are being ripped-off. Last year my assessment went down by 1.54%, granted that was only about $100 less taxes but it didn’t increase. Maybe you should call and have them do a reassessment. Also, on the letter they sent they said that they were having a BOS meeting to solicit feedback for the new rate on Feb.25,2020 at 6PM at the school administration building in Ashburn. Maybe you can confront them about why some of Loudoun had lower taxes and other didn’t. You deserve an answer to that.

amerigirl

Do you really think that the assessments are going to go down on property that is increasing in value? Do you really believe that you would get less for selling a home this year than you would last year? That rarely happens, like the assessment for property on last year’s taxes went up the payment went down because the rate per $100 went down from1.085 to 1.045. Last year my market value went up but since the rate was lowered my taxes went down. I’m sure no one wants the market value of their homes to go down, that would not be a good investment. But lowering the tax rate eases the pain. The result was that my mortgage payments went down and I was sent a check for the difference.

amerigirl

Applicant are you sure you are doing your math right? Mine only went up 1.6% but the selling value went up about 4%

LightningBuggs

I don't think $1.035 is the equalized tax rate. It's simply $0.01 lower than 2019.

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