The new Loudoun Board of Supervisors will have one less standing committee if supervisors decide roll the Economic Development Committee into the Finance/Government Services and Operations Committee. This would bring the number of standing board committees down to three.
The change was recommended by Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), who chairs both committees, and Vice Chair Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), who chaired the finance committee until the resignation of Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run). When Williams resigned, Buona assumed the role of vice chairman and Letourneau, then a member of the finance committee, was promoted to committee chairman.
During the past four years, Letourneau said, the Economic Development Committee has overhauled the county’s economic development department and strategy. Now, Letourneau said, the department has been beefed up and is working well.
“We made all these structural changes, and there became fewer and fewer things to talk about in the committee,” Letourneau said. “At this point it’s really more about executing than changing your strategy, and you really don’t want to keep changing your strategy.”
“We felt that in the end, economic development drives revenues to the county, and revenue becomes a finance and budget issue,” Buona said. “We discussed the fact that they were so intertwined that it would make sense to roll those committees together.”
Buona said the combination would simplify things for county staff, and the “heaviest lifting” is in the finance committee. “In the end, the economic development agenda is lighter than the finance agenda, and we thought rolling them together would create some efficiencies.”
“If we ever have a need, we can always branch back off,” Letourneau said. “It’s important not to meddle too much, and let your strategy work.”
The proposed change to the board’s standing committees would roll the Economic Development Committee’s two stated responsibilities—“economic development policy” and “business development and retention”—into the responsibilities of the Finance/Government Services and Operations Committee.
The changes are on the agenda for the board’s first meeting Wednesday.
Under the proposed committee membership, County Chairman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) will be a member of all three committees.
Finance/Government Services & Operations Committee: Letourneau, chairman; Randall; Buona; Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge); and Koran Saines (D-Sterling).
Transportation & Land Use Committee: Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), chairman; Randall; Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin); Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run); and Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg).
Joint Board of Supervisors/School Board Committee: Higgins, co-chairman; Randall; and Buona.