Loudoun County, Va. (February 13, 2015) – Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet presented a proposed budget for the Loudoun County government for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 16) to the Board of Supervisors last Wednesday, February 4.
The budget totals $2.2 billion in appropriations for the general county government and school system.
Hemstreet said the proposed budget:
- Continues progress on the Board’s strategic priorities, including economic development, fiscal responsibility, and transportation
- Provides increased resources for the Loudoun County Public Schools
- Provides a performance-based pay increase for the county workforce
- Allocates staffing and funds to open all new scheduled capital projects
- Enhances critical public safety services
- Protects human services safety net programs
- Incorporates innovative resource allocations to reduce local tax funded-enhancements
“I believe that the budget that I have submitted carries out your vision for Loudoun County and adheres to your strategic priorities while also meeting the needs of our community,” Hemstreet told the Board.
In the process of developing the FY 16 budget, the Board of Supervisors provided guidance to the county administrator to prepare a budget with two tax rate options – the current real property tax rate of $1.155 and the overall equalized real property tax rate. At the time the budget was prepared, the estimated equalized real property tax rate was $1.13.
Factors Shaping the Proposed Budget
Hemstreet noted that the proposed budget was developed in an environment in which the county’s overall economic outlook is positive. The county’s real property values increased by 6.1 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, and are projected to increase by 6 percent this year.
Reallocation of Funds/Enhancements
In preparing the budget, Hemstreet said he directed staff to scrutinize their budgets and look for opportunities to reallocate resources to meet needs wherever possible without new local tax funding. Seven departments brought forward FY 15 mid-year reallocation plans that diverted $1.9 million in requests for additional funding during the budget process. In the FY 2016 proposed budget, an additional $1.3 million of reallocated expenditures is proposed to address critical needs, which require no new local tax funding.
The proposed FY 16 budget includes enhancements that focus on the opening of new facilities, public safety, social safety net services, and technology initiatives. Hemstreet is also proposing a performance-based pay increase for county employees to continue the Board’s pay-for-performance system.
Capital Improvement Program (CIP)
The proposed FY 2016 CIP includes $381 million for general government projects and $112 million for public schools. The largest expenditure category is transportation infrastructure at $252 million, which includes $20 million for Dulles Corridor Rapid Transit; $130 million for parking garages related to the new Silver Line Metro stations in the county; $100 million for roads; and $1.5 million for the acquisition of transit buses. Of the $112 million in school projects, $108 million is for the construction of Academies of Loudoun, $630,000 is for road improvement to Nightwatch Road near Belmont Station Elementary School, and $3 million for site work at the Dulles North Area High School, HS-11. Other expenditures include $52.85 million for public safety projects and $20.5 million in parks, recreation, and cultural projects.
Tax Rates/School Funding
Hemstreet noted that 88 cents of every dollar of local tax funding goes toward the schools, capital projects, debt service, and public safety. While the proposed FY 16 budget advertises a $1.165 real property tax rate, the budget is balanced at a tax rate of $1.13. The Board of Supervisors will determine the final tax rate and related budget policy decisions during March budget work sessions with adoption of the budget expected by April 1, 2015. The personal property tax rate of $4.20 would remain unchanged under the proposed budget.
The Board of Supervisors will hold several public hearings on the proposed FY 16 budget. The first hearings are scheduled Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 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 26, at 6:00 p.m., if needed. A hearing is also scheduled at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court in Ashburn, at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 28, 2015.
Anyone who wishes to speak at the public hearings may sign up in advance for one speaking slot, beginning Thursday, February 5, by calling 703-777-0200. Comments may also be provided to the Board of Supervisors by e-mail at email@example.com, by calling the Citizen Comment Line, 703-777-0115; or by writing to the Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 7000, Leesburg, VA 20177.
More information, including the proposed budget for FY 16, the County Administrator’s FY 16 budget presentation, and the adopted FY 15 budget, is available on the Loudoun County website at www.loudoun.gov/budget.