How does unbalanced growth affect me?
Our roads are already clogged
with cars. More houses in the rural west far from jobs and stores will further
paralyze an overstretched highway system. Each new house means 10 more daily car
trips on Loudoun roads. MORE »
Frustrated with constantly rising taxes? More houses mean more schools, roads,
and the other services that run up tax rates. MORE »
SCHOOLS & COUNTY SERVICES
Rapid growth is putting children in trailers and disrupting
lives with redistricting. School budgets are strained to cover school construction.
More rapid growth leaves basic County services like parks, ballfields, fire and
rescue lagging behind. MORE »
The very qualities
that make Loudoun so desirable are being undermined. Do you drink Loudoun wine
or buy food at the farmer's market? Have you ever gone biking, enjoyed a scenic
drive, or spent an afternoon in a rural setting close to home? These activities
could soon be a thing of the past.
Over 100,000 new
houses could be added to Loudoun -- far away from major
job centers like Tyson's Corner. This means thousands more commuters would be
joining you for your daily drive. We all know our roads can't meet our current
needs, let alone growth at that magnitude.
Although Loudoun has seen
in the last few years, the top categories include construction, manufacturing,
and county workers (our taxes pay their salaries), not the kind of jobs needed
to afford the expensive houses that would be built.
Every household generates
an average of 10 daily car trips, which includes commutes, shuttling kids to soccer
practice, grocery store runs, and commercial vehicle trips (e.g., delivery trucks,
newspaper delivery, service vehicles). Adding thousands of new houses means tens
of thousands new daily car trips on our roads!
Can we afford road congestion
at that level, financially or mentally?
residents cost more in services than they pay in taxes, so adding tens of thousands
of new houses to the county means either tax increases or greater county debt.
As reported by the Washington
Post on 1/28/06, "Housing assessments in Loudoun County will rise by
an average of 28 percent this year, the biggest increase in at least 16 years
and a reflection of the county's astonishing growth.....
Local governments, including Loudoun, have lowered tax rates by a few pennies
here and there in recent years. But they also have had to pay for more schools,
police officers and other services that their growing populations demand. Partly
for that reason, they have not come close to offsetting increases in tax bills."
(Washington Post, "Housing
Assessments in Loudoun Rise 28%")
Building thousands of
new houses in western Loudoun especially doesn't make fiscal sense.
and open space of Western Loudoun generate more in tax revenues
than they demand in services from county taxpayers. Every three
acres maintained as rural/agricultural land in Western Loudoun saves
us - both Easterners and Westerners - more than $11,200/year.*
But the rural character
of western Loudoun does more than save taxpayers money. The businesses that flourish
in Loudoun's rural areas, called the rural
economy, are a net generator of income to the county treasury and save
The horse industry alone
brings in $80 million annually and employs almost 2,500 people, which rivals most
large businesses in the east. Other rural
industries are booming in Loudoun, too.
Is it fair for Loudoun taxpayers to pay more taxes to subsidize unbalanced, large-scale
growth in the county? Adding tens of thousands of new houses to the county just
doesn't make fiscal sense.
Quotes from county
officials regarding taxes
county school and non-school expenditures per housing unit is $11,207.99
based upon the most recently adopted School and County Budget.
3. Schools & County Services
roads, fire and rescue services, parks, recreation centers, ball fields.... The
cost of these public resources is shared by all of us. Again, new residents cost
more in services than they pay in taxes, so adding tens of thousands of new houses
to the county means either tax increases or greater county debt. Debt means added
interest (paid by current taxes) plus the owed principal (paid by future taxes).
Roughly 75% of the county's
expenditures go for schools. With a majority of new residents being young families
with children, that could translate into very high tax bills for all of us in
the coming years.
We need to take care of
the existing needs of current residents first.
An example of how costly
infrastructure improvements can be is Loudoun's rural road system. Should
thousands of new houses be added in rural Loudoun, the majority of the county's
330 miles* of unpaved roads would need to be improved or paved.
|Estimated per lane mile cost to pave to rural rustic road standards (Based
on Mt. Gilead Road)**
|Total cost to pave roads to rural rustic road standards
|Estimated per lane mile cost to pave to collector road standards (Based on
|Total cost to pave roads to collector road standards
* KELLERCO Study, 9/22/00
** 5/12/05 Memo from Terrie Laycock to the Board of Supervisors
All information from County
report "Proposal #1 for Western Zoning, prepared 7/21/05. Available
The county recognizes that
county services needs will continue to increase as Loudoun's population grows:
of the County is one of three key drivers of the fire and rescue service.
Demands on the fire and rescue system will continue to increase as the population
continues to grow... A direct link to the increase in population is the increase
in the number of housing units in the County." -- Proposed Service
Plan Loudoun County Fire and Rescue System (June 20, 2005)
Many of us
chose to live in Loudoun County for its unique character and regional identity.
Loudoun has so much to offer, from hiking and wine tasting, to summer festivals
and Civil War & colonial history, to suburban amenities and rural areas. Paving
over our home and adding tens of thousands of houses will put our unique and special
character of our county in jeopardy.
from County officials regarding taxes
Supervisor Lori Waters, July 2005 BOS Meeting:
“There’s a conflict between two Republican principals: lower taxes
and property rights. We can’t have lower taxes and less government spending
if we have a very rapid pace of growth with more citizens coming in that need
Ben Mays, Loudoun County Budget Officer July 25, 2005:
“Based upon the recently adopted tax rate, residential uses do not pay for
themselves until they reach an assessed value of approximately $1 million. That
is to say that the tax revenues generated by a residential unit do not entirely
cover the cost of the services provided by the County to that unit, the school
and non-school operating costs.”