Some big ticket items are going before the Board of Supervisors at its July 20 hearing, including a potential end to the county’s decal program.
On July 11, the Finance/Government Operations and Economic Development Committee unanimously recommended the Board do away with the county decal and instead implement a $25 vehicle license fee requirement effective July 1, 2018, and to instruct the Commissioner of the Revenue and County staff to bring forward a plan to continue enforcement of vehicle registration and personal property tax collection. The committee also recommended the Board absorb the tax responsibilities of individual towns, with the exception of Purcellville and Hamilton which did not want to participate in the program.
Should this pass, county residents would pay the license fee along with property taxes to the county and no longer have to apply a decal to their windshield. This would also avail the two Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Deputies who exclusively enforce decals to be reassigned to other duties.
According to Board documents, Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn recommends the County begin providing billing and collection for some incorporated towns effective tax year 2019 for real property and tax year 2020 for personal property and vehicle license fees. As part of the assumption of these responsibilities he also recommends that the Board eliminate the vehicle decal requirement as well as increase the vehicle license fee to $30 effective July 1, 2018.
The Board will also take action on a proposed pay increase for the 2020 Board of Supervisors. District Supervisors’ salary would increase from $41,200 to $66,800, the Vice Chair’s salary from $45,300 to$73,363 and the Chair’s salary from $50,000 to $81,100. The last Board salary adjustment was in 2008.
Although public comment at the Board’s public hearing July 12 was in support of the salary increases, Board members are not in agreement over the issue. Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) stated her support at the hearing and in her weekly newsletter. Randall said between meetings, town halls and community events, she often works 50 hour weeks that extend into evenings and Saturdays. She also said many of her fellow Board members work long hours as well.
“I don’t think the pay is reasonable and I don’t believe the pay allows most people the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I believe the pay adjustment will encourage more residents to serve on the BOS,” Randall said in her newsletter.
Six of the nine Board members have full time jobs outside of the Board. Randall said this is not possible for the Chair and her predecessor did not hold a job in addition to the office either.
However, Supervisor Ralph Buona criticized the proposal, saying supervisor positions were not intended to be full time jobs. Supervisor Suzanne Volpe also said she would not support the proposal because she felt holding the vote over the summer when many constituents are on vacation doesn’t allow for county residents to give their informed opinions. Randall said there will always be an excuse not to have the discussion and she felt there was nothing wrong with addressing the issue now.
The Board will also consider a resolution to oppose an additional sales tax to fund Metro. According to Board documents, Loudoun residents already carry a significant tax burden since Loudoun has one of the highest median property taxes rates in the country and in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Residents also pay a 2.1 percent Northern Virginia gas tax, an increased sales tax rate from 5 percent to 6 percent due to HB2313, and increased toll rates on the Dulles Toll Road and the Greenway. An additional 1 percent increase as proposed by the Technical Panel would add to this tax burden.
Residents are encouraged to sign up in advance to speak to the Board by calling the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-777-0200. Advanced sign-ups will be taken until noon the day of the meeting. Residents can also e-mail comments to email@example.com.