Loudoun Open Thread

By Loudoun Insider

Pretty boring these days in Loudoun politics, although things will soon heat up with the budget deliberations.  Post any news and views below.


Comments

  • RABBLE ROUSER says:

    I heard that Larry Rosenstrauch resigned because he didn’t like the new County administrator, Hemstreet (forget his first name). But Larry was more talk than action; taking credit for things that were merely private sector initiatives.

  • xyzloudoun says:

    Or was larry rosenstrauch shown the door after ignite went to fairfax.

  • Leej says:

    Here is what is going to happen in Loudoun next year.

    Hatrick will cut the school budget in half. And have one teacher per ten students.

    The BOS will build roads so there will no longer be any traffic jams.

    And it gets even better because in 2011 the feds will declare the DC area a no work zone and we all get to retire and live of the rest of the nations tax payers. ;-) Actually that has already happened to many. ;-)

  • Michael says:

    The top beauracrats are leaving in droves before the 1.48 hits the taxpayers. Larry R. was a waste of space and spent more time branding Loudoun instead of getting any business opportunity – most/all went to Fairfax. It’s nice to see this shake up, but who knows what will be next.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Ignite was a huge tax dollar sucking freebie – let Fairfax have it. Landing Visa was a better deal.

    I think Rosenstrauch will be one of more than a few department heads retiring and/or getting the ax. It’s time for a complete shake-up. Now if only the schools would follow suit.

  • Leej says:

    LI all kidding aside you are so correct about Ignite being a tax sucking and nobody knows if it will even work.

    The problem I have with heads rolling is they get out with a ton of money for NOT doing their job correct in the first place. That is the government paying people extremely well to not work.

  • LI, what’s this about Visa?

  • Leej says:

    And I will add Visa was not as good as people think it is. only 300 people employed on a large chunk of land. Compare it to Orbital how many people they employ.

  • Leej says:

    I will add to the add. Kincora will employ far far far far more the Visa and get us two critical road connections and a ton of park land and land for fire and rescue and a theater for the arts. Further the baseball stadium has been approved so without the road connections there will be traffic nightmares of biblical proportions.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    300 is better than none! I guess they need a big piece of land since this is some type of secure facility. Who knows, maybe they’ll add to it in the future.

    The whole Rt. 28 thing is a mess. Those landowners agreed to the tax district with the understanding that their zoning would be locked in. Burton’s motion to try to get state legisltaion is going nowhere in the General Assembly.

  • FedUp says:

    Now a $1.49 tax rate – which would result in a 14% increase in the average tax bill – is being suggested to pay for the $69 million in new spending Hatrick wants! The mighty LCPS PR machine is at it again by announcing budget “deficits” ranging from $69 million to $140 million under the current BOS tax rate proposals. Those numbers have been inflated by adding the proposed new spending to the current budget but may lead many parents into thinking the school budget could be reduced from the current $732 million to $592 million! It has also been reported that the budget was reduced by $70 million last year, when in reality it was only reduced by $13 million from FY09. This is nauseating.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    I don’t think Larry Rosenstrauch should be criticized for implementing policies he doesn’t set–one is his job and one isn’t.

    This is more of the two-county thing, and speaking of “branding”, remember the outcry over the Loudoun symbol, of Dulles Airport sprouting little fronds of horses, grapes, houses, businesses etc? Some people called it a mishmosh that didn’t represent the “real” Loudoun (unique to each complainer).

    The mishmosh is accurate.

    We have one economic development office promoting tax shelters, which have a host of people receiving the benefits of the tax funded support and deferrals, while often also opposing the roads and other improvements that would facilitate actual tax-positive business, and another economic development office saying “please come here so we can tax you, but you can’t have employees living or driving here, OR putting kids in schools.”

    I think the shakeup long overdue is the whole duplication of visions being funded out of one tax base–residential. The party has long been over, but little change has yet been made as a result.

    Schools are the largest portion of the budget, and thus the easiest target.

    However, schools, roads, public safety are required services that any society pays for in common for mutual benefit. How do we fund them efficiently, and how much (at ALL levels of government) are we funding that is really nice to have in the best of all perfect free wonderlands, but not necessary as a government endavor?

    It will be interesting! It always is…

  • FedUp says:

    Barbara, $20 million of Hatrick’s increase is for an estimated increase in the VRS retirement fund conribution. They already contibute 15% of a professional employee’s salary and this would raise it to probably around 18%! Do you think it is fair that taxpayers should continue to foot the bill for whatever VRS feels like charging or do you think it should be offset by salary reductions or requiring employees to pay their 5% share?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Who in private industry is getting an INCREASE in their retirement funding????????????????????????????

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Has anyone heard the news about unemployment – not likely to return to normal levels for 5-6 years! These teachers and county employees should be thankful to have relatively easy and secure jobs.

  • Michael says:

    Being a teach isn’t a picnic – try handling 25 screaming brats for 6 hours…

  • fedup with teachers says:

    Nobody forced them to go into teaching. I think they spend all of those “professional development” days finding new ways to whine about how tough they have it. Three months off, lots of holidays, decent pay and great benefits. Not too bad.

  • FedUp says:

    Remember all the scare talk last year about laying off teachers? Well, they only added a dozen or so new positions this year, but they had to hire nearly 400 new teachers because of attrition! They could have eliminated hundreds of positions and not had to lay anyone off. Name a profession that is more secure than teaching.

  • Loudoun Moderate says:

    I wasn’t in the least upset when I heard Ignite chose Fairfax over Loudoun. Weren’t we promising them a similar deal as that given to the Hughes Research group? Will someone please tell me what benefits Loudoun received from all the concessions Hughes was given?

    Lee, I love your predictions at the top of the thread. Dream on, Sweet Prince.

  • TiredOfItAll says:

    Ignite/Inova used their bright and shiny new medical complex as the carrot before Kelly’s Burk’s nose – to get her vote against HCA. Didn’t work out too well for Leesburg or the County.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    One word, furloughs.
    *
    According to the 5, 10 and 15% budget cut proposals that Hattrick put together last year, (from what I remember) one furlough day equaled $2.5 million. Nothing I have read in any of the local papers or minutes from any BOS meeting has mentioned York asking for the same scenarios for this year. It is almost like they have been dreaming their little dreamy, dreams all year and not realized we are in worse shape than last year.
    *
    Has anyone read if York has requested such spending cuts?
    *
    Michael, No, being a teacher is not a picnic, but it is a chosen profession. If you don’t realize you will have to have patience and be in a classroom with children all day, you might be in the wrong profession.
    *
    LI, We just had a 3% drop in our matching for our 401K. I don’t hear this as an option for retirement for county employees either.

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    In Fairfax county retired teachers/principals/administrators make 90% of their highest salary. The county pays 78% and the state pays 12%. A retired teacher in FCPS makes more than a retired General or Admiral. It’s killing the taxpayers but no reduction in benefits has ever been proposed. I don’t know if Loudoun is the same, but I suspect that it’s close.

    Teachers start at $45,000 for 3/4 time work. That would be $60,000 a year if they worked full time. They also get more holidays than any other job. They just got another one. Currently they get off not only on Thanksgiving, and the day after, but also get off today, the day before Thanksgiving. So in addition to their 6 to 8 days off at Christmas, a week at Easter, plus 8 other holidays, they get 3 days off for Thanksgiving. Who else has benefits like that? Other than a handful of engineers, name ANY other brand new college graduate that begins at that pay rate, and with those benefits.
    http://cmsweb1.loudoun.k12.va.us/50975427144147/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=89202&509Nav=|&NodeID=587

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    LCPS should furlough ALL of the administrative employees for one day a month. The savings would be huge. No children would have to suffer with larger class sizes or the closing of any schools. No one would even notice.

  • RABBLE ROUSER says:

    Ignite — which changed its name several times, by the way — is going to leach off Fairfax. They were looking for a handout and they got it. We don’t need to give any more handouts to biz. This wasn’t even a business, just another pie-in-the-sky research outfit like Hughes.

    As for furloughing administrators — great idea! How about canceling some of these school construction projects and start looking at portables? How about Bob McDonnell getting rid of mandates that every middle school have a guidance counselor per 300 students, or what about life and values education in the elementary schools?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Fed up, I keep recalling Waters’ motion to only contribute employer percentage, as opposed to employee too, failing dismally at the BoS.

    The BoS talks a good game on a variety of issues, but often passes things at the detail level that undo much of the talk.

    Furloughs sound like they wouldn’t break anyone’s personal bank at one day a month, and certainly would help the county “bank”.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Love lady, My MIL is a retired Fairfax County teacher, they do get 90% when they retire and the county is paying the bulk of it. I think it is either when they start collecting SS or turn 65 that the % changes – both what they collect and the % of county vs state. The state of VA takes over a large chunk of the retirement because they contribute to the state’s retirement fund. Regardless, even though they start out with 90% it does reduce after a certain period of time.
    *
    I’ll double check all this, but I know my MIL complained about the drop in pay after she hit 65 or there about. I don’t know what the LCPS retirement package is but I recall reading that

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Love lady, My MIL is a retired Fairfax County teacher, they do get 90% when they retire and the county is paying the bulk of it. I think it is either when they start collecting SS or turn 65 that the % changes – both what they collect and the % of what the county vs state is paying. The state of VA takes over a large chunk of the retirement because in ffx cty the teachers contribute to the state’s retirement fund. Regardless, even though they start out with 90% it does reduce after a certain period of time.
    *
    I’ll double check all this, but I know my MIL complained about the drop in pay after she hit 65 or there about. I don’t know what the LCPS retirement package is but I recall reading that an even greater % (over ffx cty) was paid by the state immediately upon retirement.
    *
    Regardless, the retirement in FFX County is higer for teachers than it is Police Officers, but it is funded differently. The PD retirement is all county, no state component.

  • Buffy says:

    When the economy was doing better, over 75 localities in Virginia (including Leesburg) chose to pay more into the Virginia Retirement System in order to provide a more competitive retirement benefit to certain public safety employees. Loudoun County chose not to offer this enhanced benefit to its employees in order to save money. Additionally, Loudoun County once offered a deferred compensation match of just $520 annually, and that was also cut due to the budget crunch. And other perks such as team bonuses, payband adjustments, overtime, and tuition matches have been cut altogether or drastically reduced. Salaries have been frozen. Sadly, this is not enough sacrifice for some people; some residents of the highest annual income county in the U.S. want their public servants to bear the brunt of any budget shortage…

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Go slay a vampire, Buffy!

    I don’t expect you to bear the brunt, just like I don’t expect we the taxpayers to bear the brunt. EVERYONE is hurting in this economy. Maybe if some of you would team up against Herr Hatrick and his band of money wasters then we could get somehwere. Start an internal rebellion! The teachers aren’t the problem, it’s the administration and school board.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I just re-read that Buffy comment. Just what in the hell are “team bonuses” and “payband adjustments”?
    *
    And don’t forget, they just hired over 300 new teachers this year. Then they’ll start bringing up having to lay off little Jimmy’s favorite teacher as soon as the budget discussions get serious.
    *
    Games Without Frontiers here in Hatrick Land!

  • Buffy says:

    Team bonuses of $100 to $250 are occasionally awarded to groups of employees who go above and beyond, demonstrating positive teamwork. When they were in effect, the budget was limited, and the process to nominate a team wasn’t easy, so they were rarely awarded.

    Payband adjustments are a way of correcting an error in employee compensation arising from the county’s payband system. In other words, an HR specialist could review an employees qualifications and duties, and compare his compensation with other employees; if the HR specialist believes that based on this analysis the employee is underpaid, this could be corrected by making a payband adjustment. Again, not a common practice, and subject to budget limitations.

  • FedUp says:

    “Additionally, Loudoun County once offered a deferred compensation match of just $520 annually…”
    *
    Buffy is referring to the 403b retirement plan offered in addition to VRS. Must be nice to have 2 retirement plans, even if your employer no longer contributes to the second one!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    In other Loudoun news, get a load of this:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_state_dinner_uninvited_guests

    America’s Cup Polo maven, vintner, and now budding reality TV star?

    O-K-a-a-a-a-a-yyyyy…

  • Leej says:

    What did the Obama party cost this country last night..

    This guy is running around the planet like it is his own private universe.

    BTW happy happy thanks giving :-)

  • Leej says:

    Barbara you are making me roll on the floor laughing.;-)

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    What will be funny (not really) is if it turns up as positive advertising for the India/USA polo cup:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/25/AR2009112504113.html

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too Lee, and everyone!

  • Leej says:

    It looks just like Houston Texas today, with the fog and all.

  • Happy Thanksgiving to all. There is much for which to be grateful.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    amen.

  • FedUp says:

    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks to all who donated to the Holiday Coalition this year. They are still in need of donations for the Christmas distribution. See http://www.loudoun.gov/holidaycoalition for details.

  • Barbara must be awfully lonely in that potemkin village.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Dean, a very happy holiday to you too.

    Would this be the time for you to tell us again what a great visionary Mr. Salahi is, and how his polo cup is a multimillion dollar positive to Loudoun’s economy?

    Nope, I spent the day cooking my butt off, then cleaning up, and my 91 year old aunt joined us and ate well all the way from the cheese board through pie and coffee. A good time was had by all, including the dog.

    Potemkin? Not really, unless you’re just having a little sour spell of the old east/West thing.

    Dean, one of the things I give thanks for is YOU, you preposterous sourpuss–often you’re one of the best laughs of the day. Don’t YOU have anything better to do today than be grumpy?

  • Leej says:

    Just Be Happy today. :-) including you Mr monk ;-)

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    “Not really, unless you’re just having a little sour spell of the old east/West thing.”

    You know what happens when you plant ice, Barb…

    Happy digestion day!! Now go shopping for ‘Merca!!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Eric, then please explain the gratuitous “potemkin village” remark, where I must obviously be unhappy since such places aren’t real, and must therefore be awful. As usual. lol

    As for going shopping, not on your life. The roaster is in a dishwasher load of its own after soaking overnight, my husband is manning a skillet full of bacon for the club sandwiches we’ll be sharing with company for the big game, which we’ll enjoy right here at home after visiting other family in Loudoun.

    Not to mention that prices will only get better as it REALLY gets closer to Christmas.

    Another peevish person from the land of pleasant living! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Eric, and I hope your entire holiday season gives you some happiness other than schadenfreude.

    Seriously. Have some good wishes–they don’t hurt at all.

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