Editor: It is unsurprising that the Board of Supervisors so cruelly and selfishly raised property taxes. While 26.5 million Americans lost their jobs in five weeks and untold millions will yet lose their jobs, the board saw fit to maintain a lifestyle that Loudoun can no longer afford.
At a time of record mortgage forbearance, the board raised everyone’s property tax, which raises everyone’s escrow payment, which raises everyone’s mortgage payment. The board has the audacity to hypocritically carp about making housing more affordable in Loudoun, and then unilaterally they made housing less affordable. There is only one way the board can make housing more affordable in the county—by lowering property taxes. Instead, they chose the easy and comfortable solution to raise taxes.
The board’s tax hike is unsurprising because they have made a series of poor financial choices. They have overfunded LCPS year-after-year with budget increases double the rate of enrollment growth and allowed LCPS to become accustomed to an unsustainable level of compensation. According to the now-obsolete county FY21 Budget, the county’s current $1,918,950,887 debt grows $100 million every year. The board paid $15 million for the construction of the Loudoun United stadium in Leesburg that will remain silent this year and the promised payments to the county unlikely to materialize.
Then there is the question if property tax payments will materialize?
Will the Dulles Town Center, which is the largest taxpayer in Loudoun, be able to survive? Malls were already in a bad position. Dulles Town Center already had several key vacancies. Commercial tenants have stopped paying rent. Will the mall be forced to become then next Loudoun data center? Will commercial property owners, as well as private property owners, be able to remit their increased property tax payments?
And, of course, there is the Silver Line extension to Loudoun. Metro was already a financial mess when the board foolishly bought into it and obligated the county to help pay for the system. A key metric for Metro is ridership because the ticket sales enable Metro to finance the debt that it needs to survive. According to WMATA’s website, Metro ridership is down an astounding 88 percent from last year. Worse yet, transportation experts now prognosticate there will be a shift to automobiles as people avoid germ-filled public transportation in the future. Metro will have grave financial difficulties and Loudoun is now party to those difficulties.
Hold on to your wallets folks, more private money will be needed to pay for our never-ending public sector mistakes.
David Dickinson, Leesburg