I’m NOT Fine With $1.29

By Loudoun Insider

Good grief, it looks like Loudoun County Public Schools chief Edgar Hatrick has his PR people working overtime to convince the Board of Supervisors to raise our property taxes to $1.29, with a new catch phrase being uttered by many of the tax raisers – “I’m fine with $1.29″.  Well, I can tell without a shred of doubt that I am NOT fine with it, nor are the majority of voters out there, that was proven by our recent election results.  Keep cutting, folks, LCPS is still nowhere near being “dismantled” (Hatrick’s favorite word of doom).


Comments

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I guess LCPS did hire that marketing person after all. Your tax dollars at work, trying to raise your taxes!

  • Before people shout, “It’s not the RATE that matters,” look at how total taxes have increased since ’07. Page R-3 of this doc:

    http://www.loudoun.gov/controls/speerio/resources/RenderContent.aspx?data=3d9c23de77874d0f8e41020c2b1f3e43&tabid=326

    I point that out since so many said that my own tax increases were anomalous. In fact, mine did go up, just like the revenues on the chart shows.

    As you point out, LI, it remains to be seen what this board does. If it’s anything less than less taxes, they will have failed on their most fundamental campaign promise.

  • Alternative chant:

    “MAKE MINE $1.09!”

  • G.Stone says:

    Alternative chant:

    “MAKE MINE $1.09!”

    Love it ! Mine too, I’ll take $1.09 please .

    Not to mention that the RATE increases from 07 to this budget were done so because home values went into the crapper, providing the political cover of the “It’s not the RATE that matters,” crowd mantra. I will be super disapointed if this group falls back on such nitwittery as an excuse.

    Those wishing to pay more in order to fund Dr Hatricks 11.5% increase can do so on their own. There is a fund for voluntary contributions. I think it has $1.29 and some old gum wrappers in it. Those who want to fund everything, those who want to spend more, seem to only want to do so, if others are compelled to pay more despite economic rational to the contrary. It does not have to add up, it does not have to make sense, it only has to feel good.

    Economics, spending , taxation and debt are subjects for the mind, not the heart. The heart always funds the stuff the brain can’t afford.

    In the last two weeks I have been to both a community meeting in cascades held by Super Volpe and last Wed’s public input session. At both I spoke about LC’s growing debt. I am amazed at the number of people , regular citizens who simply don’t get it. They have no earthly idea how our local gov’t is run , how it is funded and what happens when debt is incurred.

    One woman stood up Wed and told the Supervisors to basically fund the school increase , make no cuts to the budget and if there was not enough money to simply pick up the phone call Richmond and Washington and order more money. I shit you not , she equated the budget to ordering Chinese food. You don’t have enough , just pick up the phone and get some more.

    Another gentlemen who chided Supervisor Volpe in her community meeting to spend more on schools , make no cuts to other programs or services and raise taxes to the level needed demanded that it was not right for me to opine in the opposite direction by simply giving the assembled group the debt figures straight from the Treasurers office. I was silent while he had made his public comments, and yet he insisted that I stand down while providing my own, because he said it “felt ” as if he was being lectured to. I responded that his options were to allow me to finish, or leave if he did not like my remarks, facts and figures. He stood up and left.
    I bring this up because those wanting to spend , spend and spend some more believe they can intimidate or shout down the minority of us who are advocating for budget reform, smaller gov’t and lower taxes. They bank on the packed numbers of the cluless siding with them in hopes to discourage the voices of rational thought.

    Those days are over.

  • BlackOut says:

    Haha, sounds like Stoner can’t go anywhere without pissing people off. Did you call him a prick Stoner?

  • G.Stone says:

    No, that is reserved for you.

  • Ellie Lockwood says:

    Hmm. Somehow I didn’t hear about any Volpe community meeting. Had I been there I would have been applauding you loudly.

  • Leej says:

    it is good to be away from virginia DC ;-)

    politics take on a whole new meaning here in texas
    life in texas is pretty damn good.

    not perfect but pretty darn good and good

    here is what the rest of the country are saying.

    people in the dc area have got too fat and happy doing almost nothingness. I was at a party at my buddies house last night. people are not happy with our government. It has become worse then ever. You want to complain about the price of gas. hmmmmm We love that price in texas. at the same token we don’t because it is not good for america and the world. Obama is about Obama and needs to go. and that pipeline should of been built.

    Santoram or ever you spell it should be our next pres.

  • NoMoreSecrets says:

    I AM fine with $1.29 IF, and ONLY IF wasteful spending is cut. It clearly is NOT at LCPS, and Hatrick holds teachers and quality of education hostage in order to get all the other wasteful perks he wants.

    Take everything away from Hatrick except curriculum based decisions.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    Against my better judgment, Mr. Stone, let me set the record straight. I am the person Mr. Stone is referring to who was at Ms. Volpe’s budget input meeting a week ago Saturday. This meeting was billed as an opportunity for Algonkian District residents to share their thoughts on what they thought were important to this year’s budget. A couple speakers opened with comments asking for funding for such things as mental health and disabilities services. Then a woman began to speak to school funding, particularly FLES. At this point, Mr. Stone interrupted and began to chastise her for being in the “wrong forum”. He said these are school board issues and went on to give his breakout of how the budget pie is divided.
    I then spent less than two minutes indicating 5 items that I thought were important, none of which included schools. I did mention that I have had two children successfully complete K-12 in Loudoun. If that is an endorsement of Mr. Hatrick’s budget proposal that was not my intention. I was making the point that to arbitrarily make any across the board cuts is counter-productive. In fact, I am certain that there are inefficiencies in how the school system does business and I also think Mr. Hatrick should be more forthcoming in his budget proposals.
    Anyway…Mr. Stone was recognized at this point and turned toward the audience (not Ms. Volpe) and began again to lecture the attendees on being at the wrong forum. At no time did he mention any programs or areas he felt were deserving of retention or cutting. After 5 minutes (on the watch), I asked Ms. Volpe if she was going to let him continue. She indicated “yes”. I then said I came to hear of budget priorities, not to be lectured and I left.

    I will commend Mr. Stone for not hiding behind an alias as so many do here.

  • Mary Gail Swenson says:

    Could we please exclude leej from posting on TC? He is so annoying, always bragging about living somewhere else and changing the subject at hand.

    Get lost.

  • Mary Gail Swenson says:

    And, for the record, I’m NOT fine with $1.29. I’m NOT fine with Hatrick, I’m NOT fine with funding extras that are not necessary in these down times, regardless of how minor eliminating them from the budget may seem, as in “it wont make much difference if we drop them.” They add up.

    Greg is correct. $1.09 is fine. $.99 would be even better, but I’m not totally dillusional.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    You can’t ban Leej anymore than you can keep your drunk uncle from coming over on Thanksgiving to fall asleep on your sofa.

  • G.Stone says:

    Had you stayed Mr. Bayless you would have learned a thing or two about the Fles discussion, as well as other useful information specific

    Sir I cited facts straight from the our county Treasurer, Roger Zurn specific to the counties debt. Those numbers did not coincide or agree with your and some other assertions that certain aspects of the school budget be fully funded, left untouched or in some cases increased.
    With existing debt in excess of 800 million, and proposed debt over 331 million for Fy2013 we will be approx 1.13 Billion in debt against annual revenue of approx 1 billion. Place on top of that a current debt burden of more than 140 million a year that increases to over 200 million a year. These are real numbers that mean we are heading in the wrong direction. This means cuts. Not cuts in the rate of increase or nibbling around the edges.
    If you consider information contrary to your position(s) as being lectured to I can’t help you.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    Nice lecture…I rest my case

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Glen, your “case” would be made better if you provided the other side of the argument. Now, while G can be a pain to listen to, listening is better than walking if you want to have a debate.

    Do you feel this debt track is sustainable?

    If you don’t want across-the-board cuts, and you agree with G on the debt, what are your proposed specific cuts? What is your strategy?

    If you get wrapped up in the personalities of this instead of the numbers, you’re going to lose your argument — if you make one.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    Last try…I am not trying to make any case. My issue is that Mr. Stone hijacked a supposed public input meeting to belittle attendees. I am happy to debate, but not here for sure, nor in a meeting called by a supervisor who ostensibly wanted to hear from constituents.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    It isn’t surprising that Stone would be obnoxious, but we still cannot afford to spend the way LCPS has been accustomed to spending.

  • JTHmishmash says:

    Well IF they raise the property tax ,that’ll be a nice addition to broken campaign promises and a nice way to ignore (some of…probably most of?) their constituents. Anyone know when the decision is?

    Just wondering…(in regards to the article) What does FLES have to do with this? Will it be directly effected by the property tax? And just a note about that article…they brought 8 students who “benefited” from the program and displayed their “abilities”…for the record I could bring you 9! students who didn’t “benefit” from the program and think it’s a pointless program.(Including my grown up little brother)…not that i particularly have a view on the program, just sayin.

  • Bill Fox says:

    BTW, I have a town hall meeting on Leap Day, 6:30 PM at Catoctin Elementary School. Anyone is welcome to attend, particularly folks in the Leesburg District. I know the focus is on the Supervisors now, as the ball is in their court, so to speak, but for obvious reasons I still feel like we need a dialogue on the school budget.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “I rest my case.”

    “I am not trying to make any case.”

    Umm…

    Glen, if you find a place to have a debate, I hope you don’t walk out.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    LOL…good one! Shudda noted that “case” referred to different items in the two posts

  • David Dickinson says:

    I’ll second EB’s question and Stone’s senitments. I’ve asked dozens of pro-LCPS folks numerous times on what their plan is to fund all their wants. There is none. It is just an emotional response wrapped in “give us what we want.” I heard the same lady Stone mentioned saying we should just demand more money from Richmond. ????

    Another question. How high are the pro-LCPSers willing to go with a property tax rate? I’ve asked that before and nobody responds. I believe I was asked on this forum what I’d like to see from LCPS and one of my answers was a property tax rate under $1.10.

    So, I am fine with $1.09.

  • G.Stone says:

    “Last try…I am not trying to make any case. My issue is that Mr. Stone hijacked a supposed public input meeting to belittle attendees. I am happy to debate, but not here for sure, nor in a meeting called by a supervisor who ostensibly wanted to hear from constituents.”

    And frankly not a very good one. Remember folks this guy left the discussion 2 minutes in. His assertion that a presentation was hijacked is BS in that he was not there.

    What was in play was someone providing information beyond the pablam and nonsense usually offered. This fellow as well as some others, nor all but some would rather put their fingers in their ears and hummmm.

  • BlackOut says:

    Well Stoner, when one can’t stop talking over others and has an inability to hear opposing views, I certainly understand someone wanting to put their fingers in their ears. (If that is really what happened) You do realize there is a pattern here don’t you, your reputation precedes you?

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    “Greg is correct. $1.09 is fine. $.99 would be even better, but I’m not totally dillusional.”

    This statement seems to imply that you are.

  • G.Stone says:

    Speaking of people who put their fingers in places.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Now that Glen has no specific proposals. Can G or DD come up with some to get to their $1.09?

  • I think I came up with the $1.09, so I’ll answer Ed’s question as to how we got to that number.

    It rhymed.

  • David Dickinson says:

    1. Review the functions of the County Govt (as is happening) and reduce the responsibilities and agencies.
    2. Reduce LCPS admin staff by 20%. Reduce other County staff by 10%
    3. Increase the deductible and co-pay for all County staff (including LCPS).
    4. Cut small things (like FLES) that will add up.

  • BlackOut says:

    David, that list ain’t gonna get you off of 1.29 or 1.27 for that matter.

  • FedUp says:

    Where did the $1.29 rate come from? I thought Hemstreet was suppose to prepare a budget based on a 0% increase in the average homeowner tax bill, which would be a $1.27 rate, as well as a 5% decrease, which would be something around $1.21.

    Let’s hope the WHINE FOR $1.29 is not successful

  • BlackOut says:

    My understanding was that Hemstreet presented a budget at 1.27 but was going to advertise 1.29 so that the BOS had flexibility to increase it.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    FU,

    The $1.29 is the “advertised” rate and was put there by the administrator to afford flexibility to the BOS. He clearly stated that he did not think going higher than the $1.27 breakeven rate would be in the cards and thought they COULD do better than that. He did put forth an optional 5% decrease rate but I don’t recall what that rate is.

  • David Dickinson says:

    I also read that Hemstreet put out the $1.29 as the advertised rate so the BOS could be flexible.

    My question is why would he do that if the BOS said it wouldn’t go in that direction? I am curious to the executive’s authority to do so and who has the final word regarding the “advertised” rate.

    If it was “advertised” at $1.27, could BOS go any higher? If not, then Hemstreet has caused a problem (the $1.29 chanters) that should not otherwise exist.

  • FedUp says:

    David – It is my understanding that the BOS can go higher than the advertised rate, but they would have to re-advertise it and hold another public hearing.

    I don’t know why the BOS needs to be “afforded this flexibility” when they really have no other choice but to lower taxes after campaigning to do so.

  • David Dickinson says:

    BO, remember that there are 1,552 LCPS employees costing over $100k/year each. That single cohort costs us at least $155M/year (and probably $175M).

    Cutting headcount is the best way we to significantly reduce taxes.

    In my statement, I also recommended eliminating entire parts of the County Govt…I think it would get to around 1.10

    FedUp, your question is the one that piques my interest. Why would Hemstreet do that? Was it a rookie mistake or something more nefarious?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    $1.09 is in no way going to happen, but I would expect something closer to $1.25 this year to be a good goal, with more cuts next year after they have more time to investigate excesses in the government and especially the school side.

  • FedUp says:

    David – Advertising a rate of $1.29 kind of reminds me of when this BOS voted to seek authority to levy the meals tax without voter approval. They said they were only seeking the authority to do so and did not necessarily plan to levy the tax.

    Well, we know what a disaster that was and this is shaping up to be almost as bad. Hemstreet was probably only doing what he was told by this rookie BOS.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I really don’t get the advertised $1.29 rate either, FedUp. It came across as that was what Hemstreet was doing, not the BOS, but they should have simply told him to stick with the equalized rate of $1.27. I want a cut, I don’t want equalization. My offer of settling for $1.25 as a first step was extremely generous.

  • FedUp says:

    I think $1.25 is about as low as they can go this year, especially with the big increase in VRS rates. Most of the supervisors are counting on more commercial tax revenue from economic development to lower taxes and to be fair to them it will take a few years for their policies to take effect.

    BTW – Prince William County advertised a rate of $1.215, which would result in an average tax bill of $3,311 compared to $5,182 us Loudouners would pay at the $1.29 rate. Our taxes are still way too high!

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    That commercial growth isn’t coming, especially with the tax rate we have. Quite a conundrum there, isn’t it?

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    “That commercial growth isn’t coming, especially with the tax rate we have. Quite a conundrum there, isn’t it?”

    This is really the crux of the issue. You are right commercial “growth” is not coming. However, commercial DEVELOPMENT IS coming. THe BOS confuse (intentionally, imo) the two. Commercial development without commercial growth is a shell game and is a recipe for disaster. It will mean HIGHER taxes on citizens ultimately not LOWER taxes as vacancy rates skyrocket and the commercial tax base we currently have (such that it is) collapses.

    Case in point, I have heard rumors of a FOURTH big box food shopping center in the wings for Purcellville. Three already spells death for someone in town (and another IGA sitting vacant for ten years) what do you think a fourth will do? But the developer will make out nicely – laughing his way to the bank once again…

  • Glen Bayless says:

    And yet’ you rail against spex, etc. For big box retail

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    You bet I do, Glen. Two things.

    Since when does the bait of a possible reduction in taxes justify giving up my right to public input in the process?

    Second, making it easier to build big boxes just exacerbates the problem I outlined. More big box retail is more commercial DEVELOPMENT not commercial GROWTH. In other words, you need to bring BUSINESSES to Loudoun County to fill the new commercial DEVELOPMENTS and priovide new customers FIRST not just build new outlets for the same businesses and customers over and over.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    Eric…isn’t that what I just said?? Part of the SPEX process is designed to keep uses not appropriate for a location out. I continue to hear Republicans decry these as barriers to business.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Might be talking past each other, Glen, but the Republican’s excuse for cutting the public out of the process (i.e., making big boxes by-right – no SPEX needed) is that they are supposedly promoting commercial businesses in the process. That is false, however, they are simply promoting commercial DEVELOPMENT (at the expense, actually, of commercial BUSINESS).

    Perhaps we are saying the same thing in two different ways. Either way, its a bad thing to make big boxes by-right.

  • Glen Bayless says:

    Got it…you’re right

  • FedUp says:

    That $1.29 rate might be needed to pay for the $38 million in renovations, which includes 2 artificial turf athletic fields, to Loudoun Valley High.

    http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/valley_in_need_of_renovations_put_on_back_burner_by_administration123/

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