The Leesburg Town Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday supporting U.S. and allied troops in "the noble cause of liberating the people of Iraq from the tyrannical rule of a brutal dictator."
Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd had originally proposed a resolution merely to support the troops. But council member David Barton Schmidt proposed an amendment also supporting the three-week-old conflict in Iraq.
"If we're doing it, I don't know why we would second-guess the purpose," Schmidt said after the council's work session Monday night. "I feel it is insufficient. I would feel personally I had let down many people in the community."
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors tabled a resolution last month, before the war began, that commended citizens for "zeal and patriotism in answering their nation's call to duty whenever the cause of freedom is threatened by foreign tyrants and aggressors." Several supervisors said the resolution supported the invasion, not just troops.
On March 27, the board held a special meeting to adopt a resolution by Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) supporting "the men and women of our Armed Forces who are carrying out their missions with professional excellence, dedicated patriotism and exemplary bravery."
Both the Board of Supervisors and Town Council resolutions were approved unanimously and without discussion.
Also Tuesday, the Town Council held public hearings on the proposed 2004 budget, which would raise the property tax 2 cents per $100 of assessed value and double the cigarette tax to 50 cents per pack. The property tax increase would raise taxes on a $250,000 home by about $50.
Only one person rose to speak on the budget proposal -- former council member Leonard McDonald, who asked the town not to raise property taxes in 2004.
"I would only hope this body could be more aware of what's going on in the private sector," McDonald said, referring to the economic downturn. To increase revenue, he asked the council to consider an alcohol tax increase in addition to the cigarette tax.
Other residents asked the council to improve storm drainage, sidewalks and traffic signs, all items relating to the town's capital budget. But no one else complained about the tax increases.
"Nobody cares what we do. I am desolate," Umstattd joked. "Is there anyone here tonight who wants to make me feel like I have a worthwhile job?"