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Lower Tax Rate, More Spending

Loudoun County Taxes Rise

County Administrator Kirby Bowers presented a budget plan for the Loudoun County government for fiscal year 2007 to the Board of Supervisors Feb. 14. In his presentation, Bowers proposed reducing the tax rate from $1.04 to 97 cents, a 7-cent reduction in the real property tax rate.

While Kirby has promised a lower property tax rate, the county has increased its spending for schools, public safety and other government services.

In 2005, the average single-family home’s tax bill was $4,261. Under the proposed budget, the average single-family home’s bill would be $5,103 in 2006.

"The average Loudoun County single-family home’s bill would increase by $841," said Ari Sky, Loudoun County Department of Management and Financial Services.

THE REAL PROPERTY tax rate supports the school system, the county government and the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth (CSA), a Virginia law created to help troubled young people and their families. Of the 97-cent property tax, 69 cents supports the school system, 27 cents supports the county government and .0003 cents supports the CSA.

The county budget includes $980 million for the public school system, including full funding for operational needs the School Board adopted in its budget at the 97-cent tax rate.

Loudoun County School Board chairman Robert F. DuPree Jr. (Dulles) said he stands behind the School Board’s adopted budget.

"We believe it’s a good budget and we have already made about $5 million plus in cuts to the superintendent’s proposed budget," he said.

DuPree said this is only the beginning of a long process of joint meeting and public hearings between the School Board and Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the county budget Wednesday, March 1, at the Loudoun County Public School Administration Building in Ashburn. The Board of Supervisors and the School Board will have a joint meeting Wednesday, March 8, at the County Government Building in Leesburg to discuss the proposed budget.

School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) said the meeting is an opportunity for the School Board to justify its requests to the Board of Supervisors, "which will be easy to do considering the growth we’ve had, the enrollment increase and the need we have to education Loudoun County."

THE COUNTY’S PLAN also includes $476 million for general county service expenditures, including several public safety initiatives and $7.5 million for the CSA at the lower tax rate.

Bowers said the proposed budget would allocate money to staffing five fire and rescue stations, staffing for a new adult detention center, the Carver Center and the Claude Moore Park Recreation Center. It also includes money to improve Loudoun County resident’s technology resources and to the Board of Supervisors’ Loudoun Youth