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Loudoun County Administrator, Tim Hemstreet, Presents Proposed Fiscal Plan for FY 2012 | Events

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Loudoun County Administrator, Tim Hemstreet, Presents Proposed Fiscal Plan for FY 2012
Events, Politics
Loudoun County Administrator, Tim Hemstreet, Presents Proposed Fiscal Plan for FY 2012

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet today presented to the Board of Supervisors a proposed fiscal plan for the Loudoun County government for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 12).  The fiscal plan totals about $1.610 billion in appropriations for the general county government and school system.

The proposed fiscal plan includes $1.001 billion for the school system, $599 million for general county expenditures, and $10 million for the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth (CSA). 

The FY 12 proposed fiscal plan incorporates the School Superintendent’s proposed $778.2 million operating budget, which will require a local tax funding transfer of $521.6 million.  The proposed schools’ budget includes $79.6 million for capital projects and asset replacement, and $118.4 million for debt service.  Under the proposed fiscal plan, about 69 percent of local tax funding would be used for the school system’s operational, capital and debt service needs, while 31 percent would go to the general county government.

The expenditure request for general county services includes $386.6 million for operating expenditures, $116.6 million for capital projects and asset replacement, and $40.3 million for debt service.  About $233.3 million of the general county government operating budget would require local tax funding.

The proposed fiscal plan also includes charges and fee increases that will provide $2.7 million of additional fee-based revenue to offset the current reliance on real property tax.

Factors Shaping the Proposed Fiscal Plan

Hemstreet said the guiding principles he used in preparing the proposed fiscal plan included maintaining the county’s commitment to a sound fiscal policy, providing essential public safety and human services, and preserving critical services needed by the county’s residents as the county continues to grow.

Since the beginning of the Board’s term in 2008, Loudoun County has added 19,000 new residents. During the same period, the Loudoun County Public Schools population grew by an additional 9,000 students.

The budget projects that the value of the average home in Loudoun County increased slightly between 2010 and 2011, and that it will continue to increase this year.  However, the value of commercial property has declined.

Hemstreet noted that the county’s revenue outlook is positive overall. “We have a real property tax base that is up. We are seeing increases in the personal property tax base, and sales tax revenues are also ahead of our adopted FY 2011 budget,” Hemstreet said, adding that these conditions have resulted in a current year revenue projection being $45 million ahead of expectations. 

Hemstreet cited the improvement of several economic indicators, including unemployment and automobile sales.  Unemployment in Loudoun County peaked at 5.4 percent in February 2010 and declined to 4.2% by December 2010. New car sales were 18 percent higher in 2010 than in 2009.

Enhancements

The proposed fiscal plan includes a limited number of enhancements, including those relating to the opening of new facilities, including the Sheriff’s Western Loudoun substation, Brambleton District Park, Eastern Loudoun Adult Day Center, New Youth Shelter, and the Gum Spring Library.

Other enhancements are the result of Board initiatives, including a watershed management plan pilot project, riparian buffer incentives, contingency staffing for the Middleburg Fire Station and additional resources in the Board of Supervisors’ district budgets to address board aide compensation.

Hemstreet also is proposing a limited salary adjustment for county employees, who have absorbed increased workloads with fewer resources over the past several years. The 3 percent increase for most county employees would be their first wage increase in three years.     

Capital Improvement Program

The proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) includes $189 million in expenditures for FY 12, of which $23.7 million would be financed through local tax funding.

The proposed FY 12 CIP includes $111.7 million in funding for land acquisition for schools and general government capital projects; transportation projects, including the county’s contribution for the extension of Metrorail beyond Dulles Airport to Ashburn; public safety projects, including the courts complex expansion, fire stations and apparatus, a Sheriff’s substation, and the Juvenile Detention Center; the Emergency Homeless Shelter; and the expansion of the Dulles South Multipurpose Center.

The proposed Capital Budget for FY 12 also includes $77.3 million in schools’ projects for an elementary and a middle school in the Ashburn area and funding for renovation of Park View High School.

Tax Rates

The FY 12 fiscal plan includes an advertised real property tax rate of $1.32 per $100 in assessed value. However, the printed budget document is based on a $1.33 rate. Updated projections for the 2012 property assessments which allow the county administrator to advertise a tax rate of $1.32 were not available when the document went to print. Those projections indicate that the tax base will grow by 2.7 percent, adding approximately $1.5 billion to the county’s tax base. 

The $1.32 tax rate would represent an increase of 2¢ over the adopted FY 11 tax rate of $1.30. Because of higher assessed values, the $1.32 tax rate would result in an increase of about four percent in the average residential tax bill.

About 69 percent of local tax funding supports the school system, and 31 percent supports the general county government.  Hemstreet noted that 85 cents of every dollar of local tax funding goes toward the schools, debt service and public safety. The personal property tax rate of $4.20 would remain unchanged under the proposed fiscal plan. 

Public Hearings

The Board of Supervisors will hold several public hearings on the proposed FY 12 fiscal plan.  Hearings will be held on Wednesday, February 23, 2010, beginning at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., at the Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, S.E., in Leesburg.  An additional hearing at the Government Center will be advertised for Thursday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m., if needed. 

A hearing is also scheduled at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, located at 21000 Education Court in Ashburn, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 26.

Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings may sign up in advance for one speaking slot, beginning Friday, February 11, by calling 703-771-5072 or 703-777-0200.  Residents may also provide their comments to the Board of Supervisors by e-mail at loudounbudget@loudoun.gov , by calling the Citizen Comment Line, 703-777-0115; or by writing to the Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177.

Website

Information about the proposed fiscal plan for FY 12 as well as the adopted FY 11 budget is available on the Loudoun County website at www.loudoun.gov/budget.

Events, Politics