Week in Loudoun

Week in Loudoun

Taxes Bills mailed

<bt>Bills for first half personal property taxes have been mailed to Loudoun residents. The deadline for payment is May 5.

Payments postmarked after May 5, will incur interest and a 10 percent late payment penalty. Interest accrues on both the tax and late payment penalty at a rate of 10 percent annually.

To pay in person visit either Treasurer's Office locations, 1 Harrison St., S.E., first floor, Leesburg; or 21641 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling, Suite 104.

Twenty-four-hour depository boxes are located outside each location. Both offices will have extended hours for the May 5 deadline: Thursday, May 4, 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.; and Friday, May 5, 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.

To pay by mail: County of Loudoun, P.O. Box 1000, Leesburg, VA 20178.

To pay by telephone: Call 703-777-0280 for information on how to pay your taxes with a credit card.

To pay online: Pay taxes online by credit card or authorizing a deduction from a bank account with e-check. Visit the Web site at www.loudoun.gov/treas/online_payments.htm.

Contact the Loudoun County Treasurer's Office at 703-777-0280 or e-mail taxes@loudoun.gov if you have not received your bills by April 15.

<sh>Update Accounts Online

<bt>Bob Wertz, Loudoun's Commissioner of the Revenue, announced that beginning Monday, April 3, citizens will be able to review and update their personal property tax accounts online. Loudoun residents have been able to register their vehicles online for some time but have until now, had to call or write to update their mailing address or notify his office that a vehicle had been sold or moved out of Loudoun County.

To use this new feature, an account number from one of the tax bills or declarations and the primary owner's last name is needed.

Go to www.loudoun.gov/cor, enter this information to retrieve a list of accounts, select an account, enter the changes and then submit.

Beginning Monday, citizens will also be able to certify this information on the same Web site.

<sh>Register Alarms

<bt>Residents and businesses are being reminded that Loudoun County has enacted an ordinance to decrease the number of false alarms from security systems. The new ordinance requires homeowners and businesses with alarms to register with the Sheriff's Office and also includes a fining system for frequent offenders.

Last year alone Sheriff's deputies responded to nearly 10,000 alarm calls, more than 99 percent of those alarms were false.

The Sheriff's Office continues to register alarms for homeowners and businesses and starting April 1 there will be a three-month grace period for false alarms. If a business or homeowner exceeds two false alarm responses during this time period a written letter of warning will be sent. After the three-month grace period, which ends July 1, any business or residence exceeding the allotted number of false alarms will be fined.

Businesses and homes will receive two free false alarm responses per calendar year. On a third false alarm response a $100 fine will be issued and the amount of the fine will escalate for each additional false response.

The ordinance does not include the residents or businesses inside the incorporated towns of Leesburg, Purcellville and Middleburg.

<sh>Reporting Award

<bt>Loudoun County has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The county received the award for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which was judged to have met the high standards of the awards program for governmental accounting and financial reporting. The report was cited for demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate the county's financial story.

In addition, two individuals in the Department of Management and Financial Services have each received an Award for Financial Reporting Achievement for their roles in preparing the CAFR. They are financial analysts Eileen Nguyen and Mark Withrow.

The Loudoun County CAFR is available online at www.loudoun.gov/finserv.

<sh>Step Closer

<bt>A provision to forgive interest on student loans for math, engineering and physical science majors pushed by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is included in legislation approved March 30, in the U.S. House of Representatives that would rewrite the law authorizing federal aid to post secondary students and schools.

In April, Wolf, along with Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Sherry Boehlert (R-N.Y.), introduced the Math and Science Incentive Act with the hope of attracting more students into the science and engineering fields by offering to forgive the interest on their college loans. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, George Mason University President Alan Merten and University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean James Aylor all participated in the press conference announcing the introduction of the bill, which was later folded into the larger education bill.

Wolf said H.R. 609, the College Access and Opportunity Act, approved by the House allows up to $5,000 in interest to be forgiven on federally-backed government loans if math, science and engineering majors agree to work in their field for five years upon graduating. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Wolf said the bill includes several other measures aimed at bolstering math and science educational programs, including allowing the secretary of education to develop a mathematics and science honors scholarships program for students pursuing a baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degree in science, math or engineering. It also augments the recently approved National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grants (National SMART Grants).

The measure also provides grants to better coordinate and implement reforms that improve math and science education as well as better teacher recruitment and training.

<sh>Tunnel Closures

<bt>A maintenance project at Washington Dulles International Airport will affect pedestrians traveling between Daily Garage 1 and the Main Terminal. Nightly work beginning April 2, will force overnight closures of the pedestrian tunnel, which connects the two facilities.

The tunnel will close each evening at 10 p.m. and reopen the next morning at 5 a.m.

Passengers should use the parking shuttle to travel this route during closure hours. The shuttle operates around the clock. Additional signage will be in place so passengers can easily avoid the closed tunnel and board the shuttle.

The pedestrian tunnel connecting the Main Terminal to Concourse A and B is not affected by this project. It will remain open.