At a Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the county budget Monday, Loudoun County Supervisor Andrew R. Bird III said: "To say it's irresponsible to be in the minority is an irresponsible statement." He was incorrectly quoted in a Metro sectionarticle Tuesday.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, amid some angry rhetoric, voted 5 to 3 yesterday to approve an $81.4 million budget that calls for higher real estate taxes to finance the rapidly growing county's demand for increased services.
The board partly offset the higher real estate taxes with a decrease in personal property taxes. The real estate tax rate will rise 3 cents to $1.13 per $100 of assessed value and the personal property tax rate, which covers motor vehicles, will drop 25 cents to $4.50 per $100 evaluation.
The typical Loudoun taxpayer -- with a home valued at $90,000 and an automobile valued at $5,000 -- will see his overall tax bill rise $14.50 next year, county officials said.
"I think that's an increase the average taxpayer can live with," said County Board Chairman Frank Raflo, a Democrat.
Three of his colleagues disagreed and yesterday's board meeting was was marked by sharp words.
"I do not believe this board spent the time, nor has the collective will, to strive for economy in deliberating this budget," said budget opponent Frank I. Lambert, a Republican.
Supervisor Steve W. Stockman called the budget "blue smoke and mirrors" and said "the spending side needs to be looked at very carefully." An independent, he proposed a committee "to go over the budget department by department."
Democrat Betty W. Tatum acknowledged "there certainly are some things I wanted to see in there that aren't there." But she said it was "totally irresponsible, at this point in time, after all we've put in to it, to now come forward and say: 'I don't like and I'm not going to support it.' "
That brought an angry response from Supervisor Andrew R. Bird III, who joined Stockman and Lamber in voting against the budget. "It is not a question of who is responsible and who is irresponsible . . . ," said Bird. "To say it's irresponsible to be an American is an irresponsible statement."
More than 60 percent of the budget, $49.2 million, will go to the county school system, a 13 percent increase over last year. The schools will boost the pay of county teachers by an average 11 percent in an effort to make the pay of Loudoun teachers more competitive with those of other school systems in the area.
As adopted, the budget includes: A 4 percent cost of living raise for all county employes. Reclassifications of some county jobs, at a cost of $250,000. Seven new sheriff's deputies. Two new criminal investigators. Three new building inspectors and two new planning specialists.