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Proposed 2008 Budget Revealed

County Administrator Kirby Bowers revealed the proposed fiscal plan for the county to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Feb. 13, with an advertised real property tax rate of 97.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The fiscal plan totals approximately $1.38 billion in appropriations to the county government and Loudoun County public schools.

The proposed fiscal plan includes $887.5 million for the school system, $438 million for county expenditures, $46.7 million for the new Fire and Rescue tax district and $8.2 million for the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth (CSA).

Approximately $236.1 million of the county's budget and Fire and Rescue tax district would require local tax funding. $532.5 million of the school's proposed $719.6 budget would require local taxes. Under Bower's budget, the county's per-pupil spending would increase about 8.3 percent, from $12,161 in fiscal year 2007 to $13,176 in fiscal year 2008.

The 97.5 cent tax rate would represent an increase of approximately 2 percent in the average residential tax bill, or $85. Of the 97.5 cents, 70.6 cents would go to the school system, 26.5 cents would go to the county government and less than one cent would go to the CSA.

Bowers also created a budget at a 95.5 cent tax rate, which would keep the average tax bill level to the current 89 cent tax rate, reducing the average tax bill by approximately 7 percent.

For fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2012, the county's Capital Improvements Program (CIP) totals approximately $1.7 billion. The program covers funding of six new schools in the county, 11 elementary schools, two middle schools, three high schools and an advanced technology academy. The county government portion of the CIP includes money for land purchases for county projects and transportation projects and totals $723 million. One hundred and sixty three million dollars are earmarked specifically for tranportation projects, including improvements along Route 7 and funding for the Dulles corridor rail project.

County budget initiatives included in Bowers' proposed budget are:

* Staffing and initial funding for the Lansdowne Fire and Rescue station;

* Funding for criminal investigators and school resource officers;

* Funding for Loudoun Youth Initiative programs at the Claude Moore Recreation Center, Cascades Library and the Purcellville Teen Center;

* Caseload-driven staffing for Health Services, Family Services and Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Substance Abuse Services;

* Maintenance staffing for Parks, Recreation and Community Services; and

* Market-based compensation adjustments for county employees.

Other projects included in the CIP include:

* Fire and Rescue stations in Aldie, Kirkpatrick Farms and western Loudoun;

* Funding for renovations to fire and rescue stations and additional apparatus;

* Expansion of the new Adult Detention Center and the Juvenile Detention Center, a second youth shelter, adolescent day treatment facility and adolescent residences;

* Broadlands recreation center and the Gum Spring Library;

* Renovations to the school system's former North Street administration building;

* Regional park and ride lots;

* Improvements to the county courts complex;

* Emergency and transitional homeless shelters; and

* Supported-living residences and group-home projects for mental health and mental retardation clients.

A videotape of Bowers' presentation of the proposed budget was cable-cast Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. on Comcast Channel 2 and Web cast through the Loudoun County Web site. The presentation can be viewed by visiting www.loudoun.gov/webcast. As of press time, Bowers had not made his official presentation.