Monday night was the first opportunity for Leesburg Town Council members to scrutinize two areas of the town’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget in the first of several work sessions on the matter.
The six-year Capital Improvements Program and Utility Fund were the two areas up for review this week. Capital Projects Manager Tom Brandon walked the council through all the projects set for completion in the upcoming fiscal year, as well as those that had any budget or schedule changes. He noted that while the number of projects in the town’s CIP have remained steady over the years, the overall budget has significantly increased since 2011, thanks largely to the amount of transportation projects in the plan. Streets and highway projects now account for 75 percent of all the projects in the CIP, Brandon said.
Looking ahead to next year’s budget, Brandon said plans are to move the town’s Capital Asset Replacement Fund, which annually funds the repair, replacement and maintenance of town infrastructure, into the CIP.
On the Utility Fund side, Utilities Director Amy Wyks reported that revenues for the enterprise fund have increased thanks to the development activity around town. As an enterprise fund, the Utilities Fund is reliant on utility rates and fees, and has no impact on the tax rate, she reminded the council. On the revenue side, she said that water and sewer fees account for 80 percent of the fund’s projected revenue. The Panda Stonewall Power Plant, which buys reclaimed water for the town for its operations, is expected to contribute 3 percent of the fund’s overall revenue. Availability fees account for 4 percent of overall revenue.
On the utility rate side, the council in 2014 approved rates through fiscal year 2019. The same consultant hired in 2014 will soon begin a new study to set rates for fiscal years 2020 through 2024, Wyks said.
The biggest increase in the Utility Fund’s proposed budget comes from its 3R Fund, its own version of the Capital Asset Replacement Fund. Several older vehicles are up for replacement, as well as older systems in the town’s Water Pollution Control Facility. The upgrades or replacements for some of these systems could net the town some energy savings, she noted. Wyks has also requested two new full-time employees for the Water Pollution Control Facility, which is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year facility.
A public hearing on the budget was planned for Tuesday, after this paper’s deadline. For more on the budget go to LoudounNow.com/Leesburg. A copy of the proposed budget is available online at leesburgva.gov/budget.