Loudoun County Board of Supervisors

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors listens to requests from department heads during a budget work session in Leesburg in early March.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has its eyes set on several legislative changes in the future following this year’s General Assembly session.

Some of the shifts include impacts on tax sources and solar energy options.

In July, the board used its authority to “remove, relocate or contextualize” war memorials by accepting the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s request to remove the organizations’ Confederate monument. That was made possible after a change in state law following the 2020 General Assembly session.

Here are a few other items the board has discussed with county staff:

Governance

• Removal of dangerous roadside conditions

Info: New law requires property owners adjacent to a right-of-way maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation to remove any and all trees, tree limbs, shrubs, high grass, or other substance that might dangerously obstruct the line of sight of a driver, be involved in a collision with a vehicle, or interfere with the safe operation of a vehicle.

Action: Loudoun County staff will return to the board with an item on the pertinent safety provisions and potential impacts to property owners as it relates to new authority provided under §15.2-2009.1 of the Code of Virginia.

• Solar energy projects; revenue sharing assessment

Info: New law authorizes localities to assess a revenue share of up to $1,400 per megawatt on any solar photovoltaic (electric energy) project. The legislation also expands an existing tax exemption for such projects under certain conditions.

Staff from the Loudoun County Commissioner’s Office plan to bring forward proposed ordinance changes in the fall regarding Chapter 868 of the Loudoun Codified Ordinances. The office could also bring forward a separate information item that would address the revenue sharing on electric energy projects.

The Department of General Services and Planning and Zoning support the changes provided in the code and agree it would facilitate more solar energy projects within Loudoun, which is supported by the Loudoun County 2019 General Plan.

Action: Board tabled the item indefinitely.

• Special exception for solar photovoltaic projects and solar energy projects; national standards

Info: Legislation would allow Loudoun to include solar photovoltaic projects as a special exception use and to incorporate generally accepted national standards for the use of solar panels and battery technologies for solar photovoltaic (electric energy) projects.

The Natural, Environmental and Heritage Resources Strategy 9.5 of the 2019 General Plan supports renewable energy, and associated actions call for the county to become certified as a “solar-ready” community that supports solar farms.

Action: Staff will draft zoning ordinance amendments as part of the ongoing Zoning Ordinance Rewrite to include reasonable regulations and provisions for a special exception for any solar photovoltaic (electric energy) project.

Staff will also draft zoning ordinance amendments as part of the ongoing Zoning Ordinance Rewrite to incorporate generally accepted national standards for the use of solar panels and battery technologies for solar photovoltaic projects.

Revenue and taxes

• Courthouse and courtroom security; assessment

Info: New law permits localities to increase fees for each criminal or traffic case in its district or circuit court from $10 up to a maximum of $20. The assessment is collected by the clerks and appropriated to the sheriff’s office to fund courthouse security personnel, and, if requested by the sheriff, equipment and other personal property used in connection with courthouse security.

County staff estimates that fund would increase from $424,128 to $860,000 if implemented.

Action: Item tabled to the board’s Sept. 1 business meeting.

• Local disposable plastic bag tax

Info: Authorizes localities beginning no earlier than Jan. 1, 2021, to impose a tax of five cents per bag on disposable plastic bags provided to consumers by certain retailers, with certain bags being exempt from the tax. The bill allows every retailer that collects the tax to retain a portion of the five-cent tax and provides that the revenue accruing to the county or city shall be used for certain purposes, including environmental cleanup and the provision of reusable bags.

Action: The board did not take any action on the matter. A motion made by Vice Chairman Koran Saines (D-Sterling) to direct staff to develop and present an information item to consider the creation of a disposable plastic bag tax failed 4-5. Supervisors Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin), Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles), Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) opposed.

• Local tax authority — Admission’s Tax

Info: One of several amendments to the state code modifying revenue mechanisms available to localities for the general purpose of providing parity between independent cities and counties. Loudoun would be able to tax up to 10 percent of the amount of charge for admission to an event.

Action: Staff will develop and present an information item to consider the creation of an Admission’s Tax for the board’s finance committee as part of the fiscal 2022 budget development process.

• Local tax authority — Transient Occupancy Tax

Info: Loudoun would be able to remove limits for transient occupancy tax. Any tax above 2 percent and up to 5 percent shall be designated and solely spent for tourism and travel. Allows tax above 5 percent to be used for general revenues. The county’s TOT tax is set at 7 percent.

Action: The board took no action. Vice Chairman Saines’s motion to consider a modification to the Transient Occupancy Tax rate for the finance committee as part of the fiscal 2022 budget development process failed 3-6.

Supervisors Sylvia Glass (D-Broad Run), Mike Turner (D-Ashburn), Buffington, Kershner, Letourneau and Randall opposed.

• Local tax authority — Cigarette Tax

Info: Loudoun would be able to place a levy tax on cigarettes of up to two cents ($0.02) per cigarette sold or 40 cents ($0.40) per pack. The Health Department is supportive of the implementation of a cigarette tax as a measure to reduce the number of active smokers.

Action: Staff will develop and present an information item to consider the creation of a cigarette tax for the finance committee as part of the fiscal 2022 budget development process.

(51) comments

More Cowbell

Loudoun county/court system loses $10 million+ per year due to fines not being paid. I know 1 person that owes the federal govt over $10K, VA state another $15K and Loudoun county over $25K. Then he owes about 6 businesses combined another $100K(not paying rent on different properties, rent it center). He is a known drug dealer/user, probably has 50 different violations, all guilty, yet he hasn't spent 1 day in jail. Doesn't pay any taxes, is paid under the table for fear of feds, state and Loudoun getting their cut. And he drives around without car Insurance, his license is suspended.

amerigirl

Is his name Donald J Trump?

BobOhneiserEsq

Amerigirl, Please don't be frustrated. Take a minute and call the COR yourself and ask if HHMI is. a taxable entity which the BOS has continued to waive the tax? You. will then find out that all those times I irritated you by posting were CORRECT! Hold up on the hate speech and do some homework before posting. The Greenway already pays property taxes but just not any amount near what the market value is of their discounted cash flow value of profits. :-)

More Cowbell

She's too busy posting 1000s of posts each day in any media that will allow her.

Fiscalconservative

How about doing what a family or business does - look for ways to reduce expenses and increase efficiency. We are all feeling the effects of the Coronavirus so why can't the government look for ways to reduce expenditures and taxes?

amerigirl

They have by delaying projects that were scheduled and putting of raises. But they are also trying prevent suffering and need to get money to the people, first responders, health facilities etc.

Loudoun Observer

Democrats looking to withdraw the maximum amount of funds from working people while they have power. The "rain tax" was huge hit in MD...probably next here.

amerigirl

another new conspiracy theory

Misty Mountain

Yep. Just another one who wants a fire station down the street, quality schools, and rising home value but doesn’t know what it takes to make it happen.

amerigirl

Do you even know what the rain tax is? I bet you don't have a clue.

Voltaire

AG--the term "rain tax" is wrong. The proper terminology is stormwater management tax (for the State of Maryland) or stormwater fee (for Germany/Italy). A stormwater fee is a charge imposed on real estate owners for pollution in stormwater drainage from impervious surface runoff. This system imposes a tax that is proportional to the total impervious area on a particular property, including concrete or asphalt driveways and roofs, that do not allow rain to infiltrate. As I earlier indicated, this fee was implemented in European countries, such as Germany and Italy. The stormwater fee has mixed viewpoints in Europe. As for the State of Maryland, a stormwater management tax was established via House Bill 987 (April 2012) and signed into law by Governor Martin O’ Malley, affecting the largest urban jurisdictions in Maryland (nine counties and the City of Baltimore) in order to meet the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act as it concerns the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

amerigirl

-the term "rain tax" is wrong, so what????? I believe everyone knows what is being talked about. I know 'well' what it was about.

Voltaire

AG--so what? That is hypocritical. You were making a snide crack about whether someone knowing if they knew what the stormwater management tax was yet are calling it by an incorrect title. It deserved to be challenged because it is FACTUALLY wrong.

amerigirl

Volt, so it is not the proper name, so what? People know what it is. It was on the news. f they don't they can google it. It was not meant to be a snide remark, just a statement of the fact that people don't really care if someone uses the name or the nickname when referring to it.

Voltaire

AG—No, that assumption does not hold. You don’t know who reads this comments section and it is wrong to assume that “everyone” would automatically know that the rain tax was the stormwater management tax.

BobOhneiserEsq

How about properly taxing commercial entities like HHMI, the Greenway, Trailer parks, Golf course business, Foundations which are not charitable and even the hospital which has trouble spending all the money it takes in? Definitely add the cigarette tax but that is small compared to the easy money the BOS leaves on the table every year as noted above. Oh yeah - don't waste $1.4 billion on LCPS when they aren't even open!

:-)

amerigirl

How many times have you bought that up, I mean seriously? Since I have been reading these comments it has been at least 50 times. HHMI is a non-profit, why not just tax churches and other research facilities too, not to mention all the money they pout into Loudoun. The greenway pays taxes and has not structures to tax.

amerigirl

Loudoun OB, must I file a formal complaint?

amerigirl

SGP are you going to grow up and stop bullying? Try using your god given brain to say why you think my statement is wrong or i it you don't have an answer?

gtrunner

Want to curb smoking? Make cigarettes illegal. If COVID taught us anything it’s that all of the disease caused by using cigarettes as directed exacerbates the deadly outcomes of COVID. It’s clear, if politicians could make money off COVID they would, just as they do by refusing to outlaw cigarettes.

amerigirl

and alcohol, no more drunk drivers, and most sports because of the injuries, concerts because of ear damage, etc, etc, That is your pet peeve, everybody has one, but you bring your up non-stop. OOPs, that my be one of my pet peeves, haha.

gtrunner

All of those other activities, if conducted or used in a directed manner can be safe. Cigarettes can’t be used safely. They are universal killers and, when used as directed, are linked with 400,000 direct deaths and 48,000 second hand deaths.

amerigirl

OK man on a mission,you answer is not a real good one because legal painkillers used as directed can also be harmful, so can alcohol.But what does that have to do with this article and why do you feel the need to post about cigarettes in so many articles that have no reference to them?

Misty Mountain

Today I am selling my car and buying a horse and buggy. Safer...and hey that’s one less tax bill every six months. Hahaha

amerigirl

Misty, love it but have you seen the way people drive around here? It my not be safer, but more fuel efficient.

applicant45554

Court fees have never made sense to me for criminal cases. If you are acquitted, you shouldn’t have to pay money to the county that wrongfully charged you.

Misty Mountain

In civil court the defendant doesn’t pay court costs unless s/he loses and judge assigns the court costs to the defendant, which happens a lot but not always. Why is this different in criminal court if the defendant wins?

amerigirl

The court costs in criminal charges are fines. Such as 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. There aren't fines for the court system like in a civil case. That is because you are going against someone not the state. If the state files charges you may not get a fine.

Misty Mountain

Here they come. The cheapskates I.E right wingers, who think every thing should be free or think every body should pay more than they pay for services. You use services I don’t use. I use services you don’t use. We all need services. We all should pay for those services. Otherwise, there is always West Virginia or Kentucky.

Squaks11

MM - I bet you come from NJ or NY.

Misty Mountain

Pennsylvania - got a problem with that? You want to keep more of your money move to West Virginia or Kentucky. You will find people more to your liking.

Voltaire

MM--that premise is flawed. Not everyone who is a "right winger" is a cheapskate. Further, from an economics viewpoint, the "free rider" principle applies equally to Democrats and Republicans.

Misty Mountain

V - you are right with the premise. I wrote it to off all the conservatives who post bs comments about raising taxes = a libatard. Everybody wants services. Every one wants a fire station nearby. Everybody wants excellent schools so their prop values increase. Everybody wants the sheriff to respond in minutes to an emergency. Everybody wants zoning manager. Everybody wants a home inspector. Everybody wants a restaurant inspector. Well, these services aren’t cheap. Suck it up or move out - (to those who complain about “liberals” like it is some disease. If it wasn’t for Loudoun “liberals” you all would be in living like they do in Kentucky or southwest Virginia and complaining about it.

DarkHelmet 1983

MM, please don't shame certain geographic areas. People actually do live in such areas. We are all Americans and we need to remember that despite the current divisiveness in a general election year.

amerigirl

Dark, she is saying you get what you pay for. If you pay more taxes you reap more benefits.

Voltaire

MM—I see. I agree with you about the public’s expectation of how state/local government delivers public goods and services. However, the state/local government should also consider making its operations more efficient, including cost reductions if warranted, before asking the public to pay more taxes. There are consequences if the state/local government raises taxes too aggressively. You are correct that those individuals and those corporations with the resources will move their operations/personnel to other parts of the country and thereby dramatically impact the tax base and local economic conditions. I have seen this scenario play out in other parts of this country. The state/local government needs to remember that when making tax/resource decisions.

Stepup

Some people want less government services because the government is notoriously inefficient delivering them.

Expressing this opinion is every bit as legitimate as those that look to the government to provide more services. The government spending money to influence personal behavior or favor certain businesses or industries is even more suspect and controversial .

Unlike private industry, government failures to spend money ineffectively or inefficiently has no checks or balances other than elections to remove poor performing public officials.

There is ample evidence that politicians do waste money or spend money to satisfy their supporter, ie, unions, not necessarily the public at large.

These opinions on government spending don’t make a conservative a cheapskate or a liberal a libtard.

amerigirl

Volt, I think you need to take into account that all local govts are suffering because of the strain put on them with high unemployment and healthcare due to the virus. Most local govts have already made concessions. They woul have very little choices to move any companies to, even abroad

Voltaire

AG—Yes, I understand that state and local government finances are under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues are plummeting and the billions of dollars that states must spend on COVID-19 expenses will be dwarfed by additional unemployment insurance and Medicaid payments. However, it is wrong to use COVID-19 as rationality to explain mismanagement that has occurred within both state and local governments for over a decade. Further, the Federal Government, through both fiscal and monetary policy, provided direct assistance to state and local government finances during this crisis. For example, the Federal Reserve is buying short term municipal bonds in large quantities. If the local governments cannot repay, those costs end up with the Federal taxpayers. The stimulus legislation provided the following aid to state governments: $150 billion (B) for the public health emergency; $30B for local educational agencies and institutions, $25B for mass transit and $8.5B in community development funding. There were expansions of Federal responsibility for Medicaid and unemployment insurance that Congress had already passed. As to individuals and corporations moving, they will most definitely move if the rate of taxation becomes oppressive.

Virginia SGP

I am not sure I would call it inefficient but rather corrupt. Much of this spending is to do things like (1) pay people not to work (when the federal gov't had unemployment covered anyway), (2) give 6-10% raises to gov't employees who had already received 30%+ raises over the last 4 years and refused to retire/resign, (3) build $1M video studios to generate more giv'w propaganda, (4) hire more PR staff to spin answers to the public or even (5) pay $200k so Phyllis Randall could lose in federal appeals court and set precedent.

I mean these bureaucrats are throwing taxpayers $$ away every year.

amerigirl

Stepup, there are plenty of good govt. projects also. I can also think of many industries that have gone under because of how they handled their money. Show your ample evidence of the waste you are talking about. It’s funny how all you righty-tightys want less govt but you ae the first to call and have a pothole fixed on your street.

jbsets

The county and state elect Democrats but most on these threads complain about the horrible leftist liberals conspiring to get their money. Is is just that these horrible liberals aren't on these forums? Or did the conservatives vote them in so they can complain about something?

If all taxes are revoked, how will the county pay for things like infrastructure, law enforcement, education, and all the things that most of the residents want and need? The "I don't use it" or "I don't need it" philosophy won't work. I don't have kids. I pay my taxes and am happy for that money to be spent on other people's kids because they are our future. I don't own a farm, farm animals, a vineyard, but some of those people get tax breaks. So if everyone in the county who doesn't have school age kids or their school age kids are in private school were excused from paying the percentage of the total taxes to keep the schools running, the county school system would collapse.

JUST QUESTIONS AND OPINION. Wouldn't want Voltaire to call me flawed.

Voltaire

Jbsets-your premise is flawed. You state “…the county and state elect Democrats…”. That statement is factually incorrect. In the Virginia General Assembly, there are 19 members (Senate) and 44 members (House of Delegates) who are Republican. Therefore, the entire Commonwealth of Virginia didn’t elect only Democrats. One would hope that the members who are in office, whether within the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors or the Virginia General Assembly, were elected by the majority of the electorate (consisting of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) based upon qualifications to hold public office. I don’t think that people would vote in people “…so they can complain about something?” As to spending behavior, neither Republican nor Democrat is fiscally responsible. Both parties like to spend taxpayer monies and run up debts/deficits. The premise concerning the revocation of taxes is flawed. The Government provides public goods and services which are consumed collectively. Examples of public goods include infrastructure, sanitation, schools, national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, etc. The economic problem that you are identifying with public goods and services is called the “free rider” principle. Under this principle, consumers take advantage of public goods without contributing sufficiently to their creation. From an economics viewpoint, this principle can cause scenarios where the costs exceed the benefits and the incentive to provide the good or service through the market disappears. Thereby, the market fails to provide a good or service for which there is a need. The Government finances these public goods and services through taxation. Subtitle III, Chapters 30-39 of Title 58.1 of the Code of Virginia give the local governments the power to issue a wide variety of taxes to fund these public goods. I seriously doubt that there would be any local government in Virginia that would advocate excepting out people from paying taxes. The same principle also applies to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Now, there are states, such as Wyoming, Tennessee, Texas, etc. that have no income tax. However, they make up for that through higher property taxes and other taxes, such as sales tax.

Loudoun4Trump

Tax and spend liberals doing what they do best.....

Good Guy

Sterling voters: Remember that Koran Saines wanted to put a tax on plastic bags.

Darvitch

Interesting that solar was tabled.. on another note, the 5 cent tax on plastic bags is ridiculous. Most grocery stores are not permitting reusable bags due to COVID, so how about focusing on whats important - not the bags!!

jbsets

I'm pretty sure that a bag tax isn't going into effect tomorrow. It's not uncommon across the country. My folks live in Republican country and they are not allowed to use paper or plastic bags. It's reusable only. If you don't have reusable bags, you have to pay for paper bags. Not sure how that works in terms of who gets that money and if there is a tax for it. It is a pain when I am visiting because when I get to the store, I have to buy a reusable bag. Mom always chastises that she has plenty bags. Ok then give me one when you send me to the store. Anyway, they have temporarily revoked the law until Covid is under control.

I've seen signs in some of the stores around here that are allowing reusable bags as long as they are clean. LOL I wonder what a teenage cashier thinks is clean?

Misty Mountain

You and the other person mentioned some stores in Loudoun don’t allow reusable bags. Which stores are they? I have not run into this problem in Leesburg or Purcellville.

amerigirl

I know safeway will ring items but if you want to use your bag then you have to bag it yourself. That is no big deal.

amerigirl

I believe the state is now pushing the solar and renewable energy so the county doesn't really need to, it would amount to double work. I only know of 1 store that is not permitting reusable bags and they will let you use them if you load it after it is rung up. Bags are getting to be a problem.

DBC

Weird...elect Democrats locally and statewide and they find lots of new ways to tax (i.e take money from working citizens). Who would have thought that?

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