Western Loudoun Towns Budget $33 Million in 2020

Fiscal year 2020 is only about a week away, which means the 15,000 residents living in western Loudoun’s six towns should prepare for a year of new tax rates and fees.

Among the towns of Hamilton, Hillsboro, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Purcellville and Round Hill, four towns maintained their real estate tax rates, with the highest rate set at more than a quarter per $100 of assessed value. Two towns opted to lower those tax rates, with the heftiest reduction coming out to be nearly a dime.

As for utilities, three towns raised both water and sewer rates, two towns maintained their rates and another opted to lower water but increase sewer rates.

In all, the six western Loudoun towns’ 2020 operating budgets total $19.1 million and their utility funds total $13.8 million. That means the towns’ operating budgets as a whole increased by the same amount that their utility funds decreased by—$2.6 million.

Combined, the $34 million that western Loudoun’s six towns budgeted for in their general and utility funds this year make up about 1 percent of the county’s $3.2 billion 2020 budget.

Hamilton

The Town of Hamilton’s operating budget rose by the least amount of any Loudoun town in 2020, up $21,500 to a total of $459,000. That budget included a stabilized real estate tax rate at 28 cents per $100 of assessed value, the highest rate in western Loudoun.

Hamilton residents will pay a little more on their real estate bills, though, since the Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue’s 2019 Assessment reported a 4.7 percent increase in town property values. The town expects to pull in about $233,000 from the tax in 2020, or $15,000 more than it budgeted for in 2019.

The town’s utility fund rose by $140,000, up to $1 million. Beginning July 1, water rates will increase by 11 cents to $5.71 per 1,000 gallons of use and sewer rates will go up $3.63 to $10.88. The town expects to generate nearly $336,000 from water fees and $443,500 from sewer fees in 2020, or about $59,000 and $132,500 more than it budgeted for in fiscal year 2019, respectively.

Hillsboro

Hillsboro’s $125,000 2020 operating budget, up $37,000 over 2019, reflects the town’s small size. With a population of less than 200 residents, it’s the least populous town in Loudoun.

Those residents will soon see a bit of an increase in their real estate tax bills. Although the town held the rate level at 17 cents per $100 of assessed value, the Commissioner of the Revenue reported the highest property value increase in Hillsboro of any town—a 10.5 percent increase in property values in town, which is nearly 5 percent more of an increase than any other town in the county saw this year. The town expects to generate $20,000 from real estate tax in 2020, or $500 less than what it budgeted for in 2019.

The town’s $106,000 utility fund, which is up $31,000 over last year’s budget, includes water rates that were also maintained at $11.22 per 1,000 gallons of use, which should provide the town with $30,000 in revenue, or $1,000 more than in 2019. The town is working on a water system that will double capacity.

Hillsboro also has a $325,000 Old Stone School Fund that’s financed through sales at events, grants, rental fees and donations that pays for events, insurance, repairs, maintenance and upgrades in the 145-year-old school building. That budget is up $14,000 over 2019.

Lovettsville

Lovettsville was the first western Loudoun town to adopt its $1.6 million 2020 operating budget this year, which is up by $100,000 over 2019 and includes a half-cent real estate tax rate reduction that brings it down to 19 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Although that tax rate will decrease on July 1, residents will still pay a little more on their bills in 2020, since the Commissioner of the Revenue reported a 6 percent rise in the town’s property values. That will provide the town with $586,000 in revenue, up by $30,000 from 2019.

The town’s utility fund is one of two in western Loudoun to shrink from 2019, down by $200,000 to $2 million in 2020. That budget comes with stabilized water rates at $8.96 per 1,000 gallons of use and sewer rates remaining at $14.23 per 1,000 gallons. The town expects to pull in $425,000 from water fees and $640,500 from sewer fees, or about $7,000 more and $11,500 more than it did in 2019 respectively.

Middleburg  

Middleburg’s $4.4 million 2020 operating budget marked an increase of $1.2 million over 2019. The county’s southernmost town maintained its real estate tax rate and increased utility fees by more than a dollar.

While residents will continue to pay 15.3 cents per $100 of assessed value on their real estate taxes, their bills should see a slight increase, as the Commission of the Revenue reported a 3.8 percent increase in Middleburg’s property values this year. That means the town should generate about $509,000 in revenue from the tax in 2020, or close to $10,000 more than it budgeted for in 2019.

Middleburg’s $1.4 million utility fund is up by about $87,000 over last year and features water rates up by 50 cents to $17.14 per 1,000 gallons of use and sewer rates up by 51 cents to $17.65. The town expects to generate $629,000 from water fees and $618,000 from sewer fees in 2020, both $18,000 more than what the current budget projects.

Purcellville

Purcellville’s $11.7 million 2020 operating budget marks a $1.2 million increase over 2019 and includes a real estate tax rate held level at 22 cents per $100 of assessed value and a Fireman’s Field service tax also maintained at 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Given the Commissioner of the Revenue’s report of a 5.2 percent increase in town property values, residents will pay a bit more in those taxes this year. That should provide the town with $3.1 million from the real estate tax, about the same it budgeted for in 2019, and $423,500 from the Fireman’s Field tax in 2020, $22,000 more than in 2019.

The town’s utility fund decreased by $2.7 million to $7.3 million. That decrease is partly the result of a 75 percent drop in water availability fee revenue and a 90 percent drop in sewer availability fee revenue.

The town expects to pull in about $661,000 from water hook ups in 2020, compared with the $2.6 million it budgeted for in 2019. As for sewer hook ups, it expects to generate about $176,000 in 2020, compared with the $1.7 million it previously budgeted for.

Residents’ utility payments will make up for that lack of revenue to some extent, as water rates will go up by 19 cents on July 1, to $6.66 per 1,000 gallons of use, and sewer rates will follow suit by increasing by 46 cents up to $15.95 per 1,000 gallons. The town expects to generate $2.3 million from water fees and $3.2 million from sewer fees in 2020, about the same as it budgeted for in the current fiscal year.

Round Hill

Like Hillsboro and Lovettsville, the Town of Round Hill is doing what it can to alleviate residents’ financial burden in 2020 by decreasing the real estate tax rate by more than a nickel coupled with utility rates that are down by a combined 51 cents.

The town’s $792,500 2020 operating budget, up $31,500 over 2019, includes a new real estate tax rate of 16.1 cents per $100 of assessed value, down 0.8 cents from 2019. With property values that increased by about 5.3 percent in 2019, residents will pay a little more in the tax than last year, which should provide the town with $160,000 in 2020, about $2,000 more than it budgeted for in 2019.

The town’s $2 million utility fund is about the same as was budgeted for in 2019 and features sewer rates up by 83 cents to $10.44 per 1,000 gallons of use, but water rates down by $1.34 to $6.96 per 1,000 gallons.

Only about 16 percent of the town’s utility customers will pay those rates, since 84 percent of them live outside the town limits in the surrounding Joint Land Management Area. Those residents will pay $10.44 per 1,000 gallons in water fees and $15.66 per 1,000 gallons in sewer fees.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

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