County supervisors’ proposed fiscal year 2020 budget represents a major expansion of the county’s workforce, passing 4,000 full-time equivalent positions for the first time.
This year, the county will add more than 175 full-time equivalent positions, a budgeting tool used to track the number of positions across the county including both full- and part-time jobs.
Many of the positions the county will be adding are in the nature of a growing organization, their direct work product largely invisible to the public except in the day-to-day. That includes positions like clerks, payrolls technicians, contracting officers, financial analysts, maintenance jobs, and other positions internal to the county.
Others will be more apparent—such as 16 new positions to staff up the Sterling Rescue Squad, new Child Protective Services positions, new daycare assistances at the county’s drop-in child care programs, or two new Juvenile Resource Officers in the Sheriff’s Office who will work in the elementary schools. Those are not to be confused with a much-debated and ultimately delayed $11 million proposal to station an armed deputy in every one of Loudoun’s 58 elementary schools.
Those hires will bring the county’s workforce to nearly 4,150 county employees. That does not include the school system, the county’s largest employer.
There is also $186,083 in the next county budget set to support the District Court’s new mental health docket, which diverts some people with severe mental illness away from repeated imprisonment and toward treatment.
It caps off a four-year Board of Supervisors terms that has seen continued rapid growth in the county and a major effort to catch the county government up to that growth. According to County Administrator Tim Hemstreet, over its term the Board of Supervisors has added nearly 400 full-time equivalent positions, and overseen a capital budget that has grown by 34 percent. In that time, the county has grown by about 34,000 people.
Transportation continues to dominate Loudoun’s six-year capital program, taking up almost half of the $2.5 billion budget.
The fiscal year 2020 budget is the second year of a planned three-year project to catch staffing levels and pay up to the rest of the region and Loudoun’s own growth. In all, the county will channel about $25 million to that project this year. This year, that includes a two percent raise across the board to get the county closer to pay levels at comparable jurisdictions, costing about $6.1 million, and a 3 percent merit pay increase for some employees, costing about $7.9 million.
Over the course of their budget deliberations, supervisors apparently found much to like in Hemstreet’s proposed budget, making only minor changes. They recognized additional revenues available to the county amounting to about a quarter million dollars, and added three positions: A firefighter, a chief of staff for the Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, and position in the Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services.
The board will vote to adopt the budget at its April 2 meeting. Fiscal year 2020 begins July 1, 2019.