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Board of Supervisors Adopts Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for Loudoun County | News

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Board of Supervisors Adopts Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for Loudoun County
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Board of Supervisors Adopts Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for Loudoun County

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has approved a budget totaling about $1.6 billion for the general county government and school system for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 12). 

On April 4, 2011, the Board set the real property tax rate at $1.285 per $100 in assessed value, a decrease of 1.2 percent from Fiscal Year 11.  This rate is also below the equalized tax rate of $1.293, which is the rate necessary for the county to collect the same amount of overall revenue from real property taxes from FY 11 to FY 12.  Because the average residential property assessment increased by almost 2.5 percent, the average residential tax bill will go up by $65 for the year or about 1.3 percent.  The average commercial property assessment decreased by about 4.2 percent, and coupled with the decrease in tax rate, the average commercial tax bill will decline by about 5.3 percent for Fiscal Year 2012.

The FY 12 budget includes funding for a number of enhancements, mostly related to the opening of new facilities.  Enhancements related to new facilities include: the Sheriff’s Western Loudoun Station; Gum Spring Library; Eastern Loudoun Adult Day Center; Brambleton District Park; Byrnes Ridge Park; J. Michael Lunsford Middle School (School Resource Officer); Senior Center at North Street; and, contract funding for the opening of a second Youth Shelter.  There are also enhancements for critical operational needs, some of which are related to public safety requirements.  These include: career staffing contingency for the Middleburg Fire Department and grant positions contingency funding for expiring grants for the Gang Task Force (Sheriff’s Office and Juvenile Court Service Unit).  Finally, there are a limited number of enhancements for high priority needs identified by the Board, such as water quality issues and business development.  Examples in these areas include funding for the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District to replace state budget reductions, a watershed management plan, riparian buffer incentives, and a business retention manager related to economic development.  

The FY 12 Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) budget includes enhancements related to continuing growth, which will add an additional 3,046 students, or about 4.8 percent in FY 12.  The LCPS budget increases related strictly to growth include $16.5 million for enrollment increases and $2.5 million for staffing for the J. Michael Lunsford Middle School.  These growth issues combine to add 317 full-time equivalent LCPS employees.  Additional needs funded in the LCPS budget include: a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) rate increase, healthcare increases, funding for technology, and operating budget increases related to the growth in enrollment.

During the course of its budget deliberations, the Board of Supervisors took a number of actions to identify revenue resources and make various budget reductions in the proposed FY 12 budget which totaled $28.1 million.  These combined actions resulted in a lowering of the proposed tax rate from $1.32 to the adopted rate of $1.285. 

In the School Board budget, the Board accepted changes made by the Commonwealth of Virginia that included additional state aid and recognition of VRS savings, for a total local tax funding reduction of $5.8 million.  Those changes had no programmatic impact on the school system budget. 

In adopting the FY 12 budget, the Board of Supervisors also reduced the School Board’s budget request by an additional one percent or $7.7 million in local tax funding. The Board of Supervisors and School Board worked collaboratively to amend a school capital plan that proposed $954.3 million in expenditures for the six-year school Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  The Boards’ collaboration reduced the school CIP by $437.4 million over the six-year period to $516.9 million. The amended school CIP reflects an adopted plan for new school facility development which responds to the continued school enrollment growth in the county.

The Board made various increases and decreases in the County Administrator’s recommended expenditures for the general county government.  Overall, the changes had a net impact of less than $20,000.  The major changes within general county government were: additional funding of $166,000 for the Town of Leesburg School Resource Officer Program, a reduction of over $193,000 for proposed Board Aide compensation, and additional funding for non-profit organizations.  Regional organization funding increases included $35,000 for Loudoun Youth, Inc. and $25,000 for Loudoun Cares.

Budget Summary

The FY 12 budget includes $1.6 billion for operating costs, including $767 million for the school system, $385 million for the general government and $10.3 million for the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth (CSA).  In addition, the adopted budget includes $159 million for annual debt service, including $118.4 million for the school system and $40.4 million for general government projects.  The budget includes $214.5 million in FY 12 capital expenditures with $111.2 million toward general government projects and $103.3 million for school projects. 

About 68 percent of the $907 million in revenues from local taxes will be used for school operating expenses, school debt service, and other school expenses.  The remaining 32 percent will fund general county operating expenses, capital projects, debt service, and the CSA.

The adopted budget includes a countywide real property tax rate of $1.285 per $100 in assessed value.  This is a reduction of 3.5 cents from the $1.32 tax rate proposed by the County Administrator, and a decrease of 1.5 cents from the $1.30 tax rate for tax year 2010.  Because the 1.5 cent decrease in tax rate is not completely offset by the 2.5 percent average increase in the value of residential property assessments, the annual property tax bills for the homeowner will increase by an average of 1.3 percent for tax year 2011.   The personal property tax rate remains unchanged at $4.20 per $100.   

After no salary adjustments in the prior two fiscal years (FY 2010 and FY 2011), the FY 2012 budget includes a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for county employees.                                                               

Capital Improvement Program

The Board also adopted an amended CIP totaling about $1.2 billion for the six-year, FY 11-FY 16 planning period.  The adopted, amended CIP maintains compliance with the Board’s limits on new debt issuance, which helps preserve the county’s ability to issue debt at the lowest available interest rates.

The school portion of the CIP totals $517 million, including plans for funding four elementary schools, two middle schools and three high schools.  Additional funding is allocated for renovations or additions to one middle school and two high schools.  Finally, planning and design funding is provided for an Advanced Technology Academy.  

The county government portion of the CIP, including funding for public safety projects and transportation initiatives, totals $664 million.  This includes $306 million in transportation projects, which consists principally of Loudoun’s contribution over six years of $235 million toward the Dulles Metrorail project.  Additional projects include:

• Land acquisition funding for schools; 

• Funding for the continued upgrade and development of the county’s major computer systems;

• Restoration, repair and maintenance of stormwater management systems;

• Capacity improvements to the county landfill;

• Regional park and ride lots;

• Transportation projects on Allder School Road, Kincaid/Crosstrail Boulevards, and Belfort Area Road Improvements;

• A Sheriff’s Office station to serve the Ashburn community, a combined public safety and General Government Office Center, and a new Juvenile Detention Center;  

• Fire and Rescue stations in Kirkpatrick Farms and Leesburg and funding for additional apparatus;

• Townhouses, group homes and supported living residences for mental health and developmental services clients; and

• The Dulles South Multipurpose Center, the Gum Spring Library in Dulles South, the Hal and Berni Hanson Regional Park, Scott Jenkins Memorial Park, and the Lovettsville District Park.

 

Adoption of the FY 12 budget came after public hearings in February, followed by a series of budget worksessions held in March by the Board of Supervisors.

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