In a year that has seen historic rainfall leading to very fast-growing grass, Loudoun county will foot the bill to do more mowing along roadsides and median strips.
According to a county staff report, typically, Virginia Department of Transportation contractors mow Loudoun’s primary and secondary roads two or three times a year, at a cost of $130,000 each time. The Board of Supervisors’ finance committee has recommended the county set aside the local money to do that one more time this year if needed.
Finance committee Chairman Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said it could also be interesting to explore how other areas handle their mowing programs—such as in his hometown of Shrewsbury, MA where the town government owns a fleet of street sweepers. Loudoun’s finance committee decided the cost of even contracting street sweepers, at more than a million dollars, is too steep.
Loudoun Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) also suggested putting inmates to work on mowing and trash pickup, pointing to neighboring jurisdictions like Prince William County.
“I would imagine that we would more than cover our costs of personnel in the sheriff’s department if they wanted to try to implement a program for mowing and street cleaning in their work release program,” Randall said. She asked county staff members to meet with the sheriff’s office on that idea.
“It costs about $15,000 a year to house a work release inmate,” Randall said. “There’s no reason why we can’t put some of that to work to some degree and help us out with this.”
Supervisors on the finance committee approved both of those ideas 4-0-1, with Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent.
The mowing program is a longtime priority of Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run), who does not serve on the finance committee.