Randall: Holding Tax Rate Level is ‘Irresponsible’

Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) was the first supervisor to take the leap:

“For me to vote for an equalized tax rate, that would be irresponsible, when we know the needs,” Randall said. “We know the needs, we know we have overcrowded schools.”

She referred to Loudoun’s real estate tax rate, which County Administrator Tim Hemstreet has said the county must raise to be able to maintain its current level of service. Hemstreet recommended raising the tax rate, currently $1.135 per $100 of assessed value, to $1.14. He also provided supervisors an option of $1.15 that would send more money to schools. To totally fund the county budget and the School board’s request, county staff calculated, the rate would have to climb to $1.17.

[Read more about Hemstreet’s proposed county budget here.]

Randall agreed with Hemstreet that protecting county staffing is the first priority.

“I think protecting the salaries for the staff is incredibly important, and I was very clear that I would do nothing to lower that,” Randall said. However, she added, she would like to consider reevaluating the county’s pay-for-performance system, which gives employees annual raises based on job performance evaluations.

Randall also said bringing down classroom overcrowding is her first priority in tackling the School Board’s requested budget. Class size, she said, is an important indicator of student performance.

“It’s more informed from me being a mother, and being a room mom, and you see what the teachers have to deal with,” Randall said.

Other supervisors have hesitated to speculate on next year’s tax rate. Finance committee Chairman Supervisor Mat Letourneau (R-Dulles) said the supervisors must start with the county’s needs, and figure out the tax rate from there.

“It’s a bad practice to begin your budget discussion with a particular tax rate in mind,” Letourneau said. “I think you have to look at what the county’s needs are, what the schools’ needs are.”

Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling), who also serves on the finance committee with Randall and Letourneau, agreed with Hemstreet that the county government must protect its employees. His priority is to make sure county employees don’t lose jobs or hours, and he said that county departments would have to distinguish between wants and needs.

“Nobody wants to see a tax increase,” Saines said, “but at the same time, if we’re looking to improve our service, we have to take a hard look and make good decisions that are going to benefit the majority of the people in the county.”

[Read more about supervisors’ reaction to the budget here.]


4 thoughts on “Randall: Holding Tax Rate Level is ‘Irresponsible’

  • 2016-02-20 at 9:58 am

    On what basis can Randall say our classes are “overcrowded”? We only have 23 students on average per class and the student/teacher ratio is about 15 or 16. That is not overcrowded.

    Randall has no research to say student outcomes will improve from any such minimal reduction from 23 students. Apparently, Randall wants to take us back to the dark ages when decisions were made based on what dictators “knew”. She doesn’t want to use science or research or any logical basis to make these decisions. Her kids “need” the latest Nike shoe so that’s what they should get? At least my parents taught me the difference between “needs” and “wants”. For these supervisors to claim that the LCPS budget is one based on “needs” is hilarious. Are you seriously telling me we “need” for our teachers to be able to retire at 52 yrs old with a $50K/yr+ pension? That is the very definition of fiscal mismanagement!

  • 2016-02-20 at 8:46 am

    Ms.Randall has no experience at her new job and should wait and learn what is going on before enacting costly actions. To help her I have pasted a web site with the analysis of the county tax rate below. Our taxes are already really high.
    She should take a look at the proposed budget and see if we really need to spend that amount. How does she measure the services? What are the requirements? What are the results of the tax increases? What are the benefits?


    “Loudoun County has one of the highest median property taxes in the United States, and is ranked 33rd of the 3143 counties in order of median property taxes.”

  • 2016-02-18 at 4:48 pm

    Earth to BoS. Loudoun is still ranked for having the 35th-ish highest property tax of the 3,000+ US counties. We are ranked among the worst of the worst. We don’t see that headline very often (or ever).

    Your economic development goals do not mesh with higher taxes.

    Don’t waste money on budget killers like FDK and put an end to by-right housing.

  • 2016-02-18 at 4:29 pm

    Well, that didn’t take long — Give us your money! Protecting the county government is the “first priority.” Forget the taxpayers.

    Message received Ms. Randall.

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