There will be no honeymoon period for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors: The coming year promises a packed agenda for the newly elected leaders, who began their terms this week.
At the top of the board’s to-do list is the often challenging process of adopting Loudoun’s fiscal 2013 budget. For voters who elected Loudoun’s first all-Republican board since the mid-1990s, this year’s budget discussions will offer an early opportunity to observe the supervisors’ approach to the schools budget, tax rates and development and transportation projects.
With a slate of fiscal conservatives on the board, residents can anticipate tough scrutiny of expenditures, Republican leaders said.
The School Board is scheduled to adopt its recommended budget by late this month, and County Administrator Tim Hemstreet will present his recommended budget to the Board of Supervisors early next month. Public hearings about the budget are scheduled for February and March, and the board will adopt the final budget at its first meeting in April, county officials said.
Beyond the budget, a number of other high-priority issues await the new supervisors at the start of their term. This month, the board will decide whether to finalize a contract to buy property in Lansdowne for the construction of a high school. Through mid-March, county leaders will be busy monitoring the progress of this year’s Virginia General Assembly session and responding to legislation that could affect Loudoun. The supervisors will also address several significant long-term projects, including the development of Kincora Village Center, a mixed-use community at the interchange of routes 7 and 28, and Phase 2 plans for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project. In the spring, the board will consider the possibility of approving a pipeline extension from Leesburg to Raspberry Falls, a subdivision north of town whose residents have long complained about the quality of the water.
And that’s just within the first six months.
Other controversial matters are also expected to come before the board this year. Cable and broadband provider OpenBand has said the company plans to reapply for the renewal of its franchise agreement with the county. The application was denied by the previous board, prompting OpenBand to file a lawsuit against the supervisors early last month.
County leaders have also indicated that the board is likely to address the issue of holiday displays on the historic courthouse grounds in Leesburg, a topic that has caused no small amount of angst and controversy in the community. After last year’s debate over which displays, if any, should be allowed on the public property, board Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) indicated that the existing policy would soon be reexamined by the board.
In a county that historically fluctuates between pro-growth and slow-growth leadership, local Republicans have predicted that the coming term will bring a strong focus on expanding the commercial tax base by attracting businesses to Loudoun and addressing the rapidly growing county’s transportation problems.