Editor: As a candidate for county chairman, I hold myself above the level of just complaining or throwing rocks at the incumbent without showing evidence. As a lawyer for over 31 years that’s just how the job needs to proceed. Below are two sets of examples showing how the current agenda of the Board of Supervisors has missed a major problem and continues to allow an unfair tax collection procedure to burden homeowners.
First, let’s take a look at some small samples of why I want to get the property tax system fixed then I will show you an example that will floor you.
Near the corner of Stumptown Road and Rt. 15 is a two-acre lot that includes a store, gas station and about 19 trailers most of which pay the owner monthly land rent of around $800 to $1,000, although I know of one case being charged $1,600/month just to rent the land and utilities to support their trailer. These are not high-income people so this issue of not charging the right property tax rate can be seen as helping a rich person abuse the poor which should be a big issue for a Democratic chairperson if she was paying attention. This lot including buildings is assessed for $464K, yet it is public info on the same commissioner website that the store itself was purchased in 2014 for $2,750,000. On what financially competent planet could this make sense while most Loudoun homeowners pay tax based on the full market value of their home every year even though it would cost them 6 percent to sell it.
The second example is right down the street where a 14.5-acre site with a motel on it continued to have the same $419K assessment even though a large restaurant with a large parking area and lots of land development work done was added. Didn’t most of our home assessments go up this year even if we didn’t make any improvements or additions?
Now, here is the item that should send every Loudoun resident to the voting booth this coming Nov. 5: Janelia Farm (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) is about a 600-acre parcel with 60 acres developed just to the north side of Rt. 7 by Ashburn Village. HHMI published that the initial buildings were expected to cost $500 million with 147,000 square feet of structural glass under the second largest green roof in the United States. If you haven’t seen this facility look up parcel 056367444001 in the County Assessment Data Base and click on aerial view. It is gorgeous and they even built two large apartment/hotel complexes on the site. Would you be surprised that the assessed “taxable” value according to the county is $38 million and even that is not collected? Yes, the current chair of the Board of Supervisors allowed the continued exemption of property tax from a private organization which currently states having $20.4 billion in net assets. This is at the same time that the support for the Good Shepherd Alliance charity, which supports homeless in Loudoun, received less support than the previous year.
This will get fixed after the next election. I guarantee it.
Robert Ohneiser, Lucketts