Loudoun County Budget Fiscal 2020

This is a dollar breakdown from the current Loudoun County budget.

Loudoun County staff is preparing the fiscal 2021 proposed budget at the current real property rate of $1.045 per $100 in assessed value.

Under direction from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the county administrator will also provide options to either increase the real property tax rate by one cent to $1.055 or decrease the real property tax rate by one cent to $1.035. For each penny increase in the tax rate, the average homeowner would see a $50 increase in their annual tax bill.

The motion was moved on a party-line vote with Republican supervisors Tony Buffington (Blue Ridge), Caleb Kershner (Catoctin) and Matthew Letourneau (Dulles) in opposition.

Given rising property assessments, keeping the tax rate level would effectively serve as a tax hike on county homeowners.

At the current tax rate of $1.045, county staff said the scenario would improve the county’s ability to maintain and, in some cases, expand service levels as well as provide capacity to address some new board initiatives.

First priority and some second priority departmental resource requests would be addressed, according to county staff. Additionally, the scenario would fund employee compensation increases, opening new facilities and operation and management base budget increases.

Letourneau, who serves as the board’s finance committee chairman, said his preference is to start as low as $1.03.

“This is not an outcome discussion. This is not a discussion about where the tax rate should be or what we should, should fund and shouldn't fund. It's really just how does the board want to do this. My preferred method is to start low and to add,” Letourneau said.

County Administrator Tim Hemstreet confirmed with Letourneau that at a rate of $1.03 maintenance increases, opening new facilities and the new classification and compensation structure would be covered.

However, the $1.03 rate would not cover departmental requests and the demand for services considering the growing population.

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

This initiative has an approximately $24 million impact to the county’s base budget in fiscal 2021, separate from the approximately $11 million to implement the new classification and compensation structure in the current 2020 budget.

Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and a couple of her colleagues spoke in favor of moving forward with the classification and compensation study—not causing any further delay.

“Our employees have been paid below with the comparative counties have been paid for years,” Randall said. “And one thing I learned about this board when I came on last time is the board is a perpetual body, and to some degree – not for everything, but to some degree – what happens on one board has to be somewhat respected by another. So, if a board promises our county staff that they have well-deserved, well-needed … pay increases, then I would really object to a new board coming on and doing something different with that.”

Personnel and departmental operating budgets have increased along with Loudoun's population. Over the past three years, the county has added nearly 520 net new full-time equivalent positions.

Should the board raise the property tax rate, staff said it would result in additional revenue available for county needs and reduce the funding gap for the public school division, which could be around $20 million.

The budget is expected to be adopted in April.

“I think this is a reasonable recommendation from the staff to go with the current tax rate and I think it's reasonable to say if we can go down, let's go down, and hopefully we don't have to go up at all,” Randall said. “But to start at the current tax rate is a reasonable recommendation that the staff has given us, and I am not happy, but I am willing to go with their recommendation and hopefully be able to go down from there.”

(62) comments

Pete

Our taxes are already too high and for what? Most of NOVA taxes go to Richmond and then they can do what they want. Maybe they would do better to try and work within budget and stop spending more and more.

amerigirl

Then you might be thinking some of the same thoughts as I do. Why not break off and form a separate state?

BobOhneiserEsq

So posters love to spew opinions yet the majority of Loudoun don't even vote in local elections. Here is one fact I rely on to conclude our BOS are not taxpayer sensitive besides the FACT that our rates have remained well over the state average for decades. Please speak to your BOS representative as this is one reason our tax rate is so high and it has nothing to do with teachers, students, cops or supporting the mentally ill. Its' just political lethargy or worse. Go to pin # 056367444002 at the address 1975 Janelia Farm Blvd under the County assessment page and you will find this property is assessed at $188.7 million yet the BOS exempts it from paying any property taxes. That is just the beginning of the story. In the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's own 2019 statement on page 29 they report that in 2003 they issued a $500 million bond to pay for the construction of the "FIRST" building and on that same report (which is online and public) they currently have $20.1 Billion in current assets so they could afford to pay property taxes in my opinion. Since building the initial lab building they added apartment buildings which are also untaxed using tax free Loudoun development funds and the last one was bonded for $51.8 million. Now can anyone tell me why the County publishes an assessment of hundreds of millions less than the first building cost not counting what the 197.4 acres are really worth nor the value of multiple apartment buildings between Route 7 and the Potomac River? Based on H.Hughes own report this should at least add $8.5 million to the tax funds or almost as much as the current BOS wants to spend to bail out the developers of Selma estates for building homes on top of known caverns. And yet voters still don't show up to vote! :-)

RandomName2019

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the fact that it's tax exempt offsets any real conversation about it's worth, right? You can argue that it should be taxed, but would valuing it higher have any impact? Some of the groups that are exempt were made tax free at the state level.

amerigirl

Here's another reason our tax rate is high, we are in NOVA. A fast growing part of NOVA that needs money to support that growth.

amerigirl

the state average??? Again you can not compare the cost of living in NOVA to all the rural areas of VA. Just look at the difference in the infrastructure of the areas.

mrconservative

In some states as reappraisals are done the tax rate by law has to be lowered to reflect the same revenue as before. Then the rate can be increased up if needed for more funds. This is a better way since people can see the rate increase where it is hidden now in Loudoun.

ace10

THIS is the aforementioned "ticking time bomb" in the LoCo budget. And it's not going away. The liars who have been shouting about projected lower tax bills for county residents are deserving as much blame as the developers and the County politicians. And YOU know who YOU are.

amerigirl

If you don't like it feel free to leave, you can get a tidy sum if you own property in Loudoun.

ace10

So you lied nonstop about reduced taxes in the coming year, and now, when called out on it, your response is not an apology, but a "get out." Disgusting.

amerigirl

Ace. get a grip, the bills have not even come out yet. At least not to home but I got my mortgage statement for next March and it went DOWN because less taxes were required. You are pretty disgusting with your constant accusations when you know nothing. Stop making things up

amerigirl

ace, what you lied about my taxes and demanded an apology but when proven wrong you can't apologize?

mopar19

Until there is no more land left for new housing developments. No more schools to be built. We will continue to bear the burden of funding and maintaining all services and infrastructure with our tax dollars. Loudoun county residence have been footing the bill since the 80s when we only had 4 high schools. When the developers are let off the hook. Someone must pick up the tab. Just wish the money would be spread out more evenly. Instead of 70 cents of every dollar going to the school system.

amerigirl

So true. What they don't understand in they bought their home at a much lower price and it ts appreciating every year as there is more and more demand and they can sell it for a lot more. They like the higher value but don't want to pay their fair share of the property's worth.

ace10

Good grief, this is pure idiotic spin. Unless one is selling their home and moving to a lower cost area or downsizing, appreciating home values serve absolutely no good. Taxes go up. Insurance goes up. So that's negative cash flow. Sell it, and the transaction costs can eat up a significant portion of the appreciation. If YOU want to pay more in taxes, then YOU are welcome to send in some extra money to the County.

Virginia SGP

amerigirl, that makes no sense. If housing prices went up but there was no growth in population, we wouldn't need more roads or schools. Why would we need to raise tax revenues by keeping such a high tax rate?

Your "fair share" argument seems more grounded in suggesting we need to "take from those who have wealth" than it does for any legitimate reason.

amerigirl

Ace, I would not want to be your realtor. Look at Jeanne’s post below for an example. Of course, you won’t make the money until you sell, why would you, but you will make a ton more than you paid. If you want to retire and move from Loudoun or downsize, you will have it made, It’s an investment. You need to protect your investment so you need insurance. What are the transaction costs can eat up a significant portion? Realtors don’t charge that much, at most 6%, and most are willing to lower their fees. If you want all the amenities that Loudoun has to offer then you need to pay the price. If you want a simpler life then considering moving to Fauquier, Prince William or Stafford, there are plenty of people who commute from those areas because they like the lifestyle in those counties. You wouldn’t need to spend so much for a home. It’s all in what you are willing to do.

amerigirl

V SGP, we wouldn’t, that is what I said. If housing prices went up but there was no growth in population, we wouldn't need more roads or schools. Why would we need to raise tax revenues by keeping such a high tax rate? We wouldn’t. Just use Fairfax as an example. They don’t need to spend as much for schools or roads because they already exist, so now it is fewer new roads, schools, etc. and mostly maintenance. That’s why the rate is only .98%. When you live in a rapidly growing area you pay for more amenities but you property is increasing in value at a quicker rate.

Jeanne T

Well, amerigirl, maybe they can't afford the higher taxes that come with higher assessments. Has that ever occurred to you? Perhaps many are retired and now on a lower income, and the higher taxes become a burden, especially if the home isn't paid off. And don't tell me they are "free to leave" if they don't like it. Not everyone can easily relocate.

amerigirl

Those new people coming into the county pay taxes too. Why would you think developers would pay for high schools? they do have to pay for some road improvements but they but it is the new people that need the schools.

jke

Trump lets us earn keep more of money so democrat's like the pos Randall can use it any way she chooses.

amerigirl

Like the Wash Post says, that's his shiny new talking point about income growth, He got Two Pinocchios! Of course every right wing site has repeated the lie. So he is bragging about his figures being higher than 2 presidents that served during the recession. My God, he better be able to beat recession figures.

Loudoun4Trump

you can count on a tax increase for the next 4 years....a democrat majority always leads to higher taxes and wasteful government programs...

amerigirl

God has spoken

BobOhneiserEsq

correction: Loudoun only charges its' citizens 33% more than the rest of the state.

amerigirl

You mean all those rural areas with farms and no highways, few schools, etc?

BobOhneiserEsq

2/3rds of registered voters didn't bother to vote so those who were elected are assuming they fully support whatever spending BOS and school board authorize and the state loves us as we charge our citizens 332% more than the rest of the state while Richmond sucks a 1/4 of a billion ot of Loudoun every year our elected officials won't even complain about. Ruderless boats with captains who don't make the right decisions go downstream un til they see the falls. :-)

LoudounPulse

For every $1.00 my taxes rise, Government should cut spending by $1.00.

At least that spreads the pain equally between the person who "EARNED" the money and the temporary government officers who spend our money.

20165Home

*Current Total = $.72 of every dollar. We have no dependents. Just for schools $4,320 per year our cost.

Schools .57+ Schools debt .09 + Capital improvement program(schools) .02 and if I add Health and welfare .04. “They are looking to rise Loudoun County Tax?

*Current tax rate of $1.045

*Proposed $1.03 + if property assessments, keeping the tax rate level would effectively serve as a tax hike on county homeowners because home value keeps going up.

hardworkingamerican

Let's face it, no matter how you look at it unless your pay goes up it's a tax increase, no matter how they spin it. So perfectly put, since the County provides the assessments they can raise your taxes in a multitude of different ways. Fortunately for America household medium income has gone up tremendously under Donald J Trump, the only President to keep the campaign promises he made despite being spied on and despite a corrupt Obama coup to over throw his campaign before it even started. So yes if your salary goes up you should pay more taxes. But just because the tax rate stays the same and your assessment goes up don't think it is level. That's just being gullible, ignorant or stupid, not sure which. Case in point, you buy a used vehicle that was a dealer demo that has a $1,000 miles on it and you pay let's say 44k for it. It gets assessed for 45,000. It's a simple scam. Sure they didn't change the rate, but they are taking a used vehicle that is 2 years old and applying a value that is over 10k more than the top blue book value. Virginia government is corrupt and the swamp drains over. Better stock up on 16 oz. drinks, because the Bloomberg funded flunkies are coming after everything we are granted in the Virginia Bill of Rights. GO TRUMP!!

btm11

Assessments of real estate reflect the market value of the property. The assessors are not increasing the assessed value to satisfy elected officials. This is the way it has always been. The problem with it is the property owner doesn't benefit from the increased assessed value until the owner sells the property (unless it is a rental property).

JoeSchmoe

Welcome to the Democrat majority on the Board of Supervisors.

LoudounPulse

Exactly. Democrats get into office and taxes start rising.

amerigirl

It doesn't matter where you go or who is in control, if you want the services you need to pay.

LetsBreal

If you compare the number of administrative staff in any modern school system to twenty years ago or even ten years ago, you will see the workforce numbers have skyrocketed. Just look at the job titles in a school system. Then look at the number of employees filling those titles.

That's where the increases come from. It has gotten way out of control. Are the outcomes also better?

amerigirl

I don't know if ths is even significant but 20 years ago both of my kids were in severely overcrowded classrooms. Teachers were walking out of their classrooms in tears because with that many students and that much noise you can't teach well and kids act up more. They couldn't even keep coats and backpacks in the rooms .

CindyLou

Tax, tax, tax!!! For what? To keep One Loudoun up? Pay the cops on duty to arrest the patrons, (which is well deserved), The schools certainly do not know how to use it any revenue. This is the most expensive county in the United States to live in, with that being said, there are children that don't have food.

More Cowbell

Living in Loudoun 30 years, with taxes going up at least 27. Rate goes down, assessment goes way up. Rate goes up, assessment goes up. Have to pay for those large raises to BOS thanks to Randall and others. Major disgrace as usual.

AreYouKidding

Keeping the tax rate the same is not in effect a tax hike. A tax hike is when the tax rate goes up not when you pay more taxes because what you are paying taxes on has gone up in value. If I make $100,000 one year and $110,000 the next year the amount of taxes I would pay would increase but it isn't a tax hike. It is the same concept.

An equalized tax rate is in effect a tax decrease because I am now paying a lower effective tax rate both because I am paying a lower percentage of the value of my asset and because the dollar amount I am paying is less valuable in real dollars because of inflation. For most of the last decade Loudoun county tax payers have in effect been getting a tax cut most years.

RandomName2019

It's all semantics, but the end result is that citizens will pay more because the value of their real estate will increase. It's effectively viewed as a tax rate increase because the equalized tax rate has historically been pitched as a tax cut.

amerigirl

The problem is people just see they are paying more and not seeing that what they are taxed on is more valuable than before.

DBC

The article's main point is that the amount of money people pay Loudoun County will increase. For someone writing a check this year that is $100 more than last year, will they say, "it's okay, its not actually a hike so I'm good with it?"

loudoun fan

Unfortunately, your examples are wrong. The equalized rate is the rate at which the average tax bill remains the same. The additional revenue comes from growth in both new residential units and increased commercial revenue. If you pay more in taxes the next year, that's a tax increase. You say it's not because the value went up. That is not a correct view. In your example of making 100K one year and then 110K the next, you are actually realizing 10K in additional income. If your home goes up in value, you realize nothing. It's just a paper value. Your income didn't change. Just the value of your home. That value isn't realized until you sell it or do a cash out refinance. So, if the tax rate remains the same and the value of your home increases, you will pay more in taxes. That is a tax increase.

JoeSchmoe

It is a tax hike. My house has gone up in value, but as long as I live in it the increase in value does nothing for me. If the housing market tanks again when I want to sell it, do I get my taxes back?

amerigirl

Joe, you have to play the market. If the housing market goes up, which it is doing now and they say will continue just because Amazon is coming, do you think you should pay more? Taxes are for what you own, if you are that worried, Sell, get while the getting is good. Houses don't stay on the market long here.

Jeanne T

JoeSchmoe, I hear you. This is a particularly an issue if one bought in Loudoun County when prices began to go up. We bought our (former) townhouse in 2000, but by the time wsoe sold our townhouse in 2016, it had gained significantly in value, and our mortgage balance was by then less than half of the sale price. The money from the sale allowed us to purchase a nice home elsewhere and get much more for our money. The house we are now in has more than twice the square footage and would probably sell for at least 3 times as much in Loudoun County, if not more. Not only that, our taxes are about one fourth of what they now are in Loudoun (out of curiosity I periodically look up our old house and its current taxes!), and as Federal retirees on a limited income, that was the major factor in our decision to sell and move. In 2016, I would no longer have been able to afford that townhouse as I was in 2000. (And even back then I thought I was paying too much.)

The market in Loudoun County is still very strong, as amerigirl mentioned. I know it's not an option for everyone, but if you are in a position to sell and move elsewhere where property is more reasonable and taxes are lower, especially if selling it would be to your financial advantage, you might consider doing so. If moving is not an option for you, you will just have to stick it out. Find a good financial advisor if you don't have one. And if you have debt (other than your mortgage), try to pay it off as quickly as possible.

Virginia SGP

You are missing the point. Total taxes have gone up and are completely unjustified. The datacenters have showered $100Ms in taxes on the county but they still keep all the rates high. Maybe one could argue that only the datacenters should get tax cuts, but tax revenue has gone way up (disproportionate to county GDP).

Real estate taxes are unlike income taxes. If the gov't takes 10% of your income each year, you might have an argument. But if your home goes up 5% in value, you owe LoCo 5% more in real estate tax revenue. You will still owe 5% more in tax revenue for the next 20 years even if your house value remains constant. That is an increase for living here.

More importantly, suppose Virginia/Loudoun received a windfall payment (e.g. a $3B settlement from the cigarette or opoid manufacturers) and kept tax rates the same, would you say that tax rates should remain the same? The datacenter windfall is revenue to the WHOLE county, not just the greedy bureaucrats for the BOS to shower exorbitant raises upon. Either give the huge tax revenue increases back to the datacenters or to all the people. Not just the ones who are in unions and work only 190 days per year.

amerigirl

I have been trying to explain that to the same people for years, pointless. Of course they will want the full value of their houses when they go to sell.

David Dickinson

So, in the past several years, Loudoun County now gets $300M/year in revenue from data centers. The BoS spends all that additional income and now wants to raise taxes to spend even more. There is no satisfying the government beast. It consumes without end.

amerigirl

I believe this article says they don't know what they are doing yet, they might even lower it since the value of houses has gone up.

pual mase

I don't share Randall's view that we should burden taxpayers with increases because that is the direction the previous board set out on.

I am new to Loudoun county and I am noticing a mentality that the board is more concerned about increasing the scope of government and supporting the staff that looking out for the taxpayer.

No where was this more evident than the school boards outrageous budget proposal that looks for 10% increase and adds 530 staffers for a projected 1500 increase in students.

Lets tighten our belt and put taxpayers first.

Virginia SGP

Welcome to Loudoun. As crooked as it appears.

RandomName2019

As someone new to the County, it seems that you may need to familiarize yourself with some local history. County government has been historically underfunded and understaffed and retention is a major problem. Citizens have shown no desire to reduce services or tolerate delays in getting what they want, so the solution is to pay professionals what they can get in other localities.

DavisB

Welcome to Loudoun. As filled with hateful, self-righteous online trolls as you see in response to your post

WesternSky

News Flash. The Dems are in charge -- and your taxes are going up. And government will grow larger, and more and more regulation will follow. And then guess what, your taxes will go up again and again.

DavisB

what this have to do with either side? get a grip on reality

amerigirl

News flash, the article says that they don't know yet, and a decrease has also been proposed, Having your scapegoat the Dems in charge has nothing to do with it.When have taxes gone down, they didn't when the repubs were in charge.

RoundHillGuy

wait, I though the reason for having a million data centers was to keep the tax rate low for residents????

applicant45554

I think we were saved from catastrophe by the data centers , but spending seems to be on the rise too

amerigirl

Consider this the National average rate is 1.080% of Assessed Home Value and Loudoun, even being the richest county is only 1.045%. The median real estate property tax rate for Virginia cities is $1.07. Considering the rate Loudoun is growing, which is expensive, we aren't doing that bad. But with growth comes new schools, roads, police stations, libraries, etc. I would guess it will level out when we aren't paying for so much development, like it did in Fairfax.

DavisB

they are - consider where were would be without them

applicant45554

So the republicans who have repeatedly voted to rezone much commercial property to residential are now voting against the tax increase that’s resulted from the additional costs from rezoning. Very bogus. At least the democrats are honest about rewarding the public employee unions who got them elected. There’s only one person on the BOS who’s seems committed to addressing the real underlying issue with taxes, and I can’t remember her name..

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