What is the biggest issue facing Leesburg and Loudoun in the next four years?
The biggest issue facing Leesburg and Loudoun in the next four years is how to deal with the over-development the present board will be leaving to the new board. The present Board of Supervisors has spent its time approving CPAMs and re-zoning areas that were zoned commercial, changing them to residential. The Board did this without tying transportation, education, public services and environmental needs to the development. They failed to take into consideration the needs of the current residents and allowed over 15,000 new homes to be approved. This means that our roads, which are already close to gridlock, will have even more cars using them daily.
I will make sure that development is evaluated on it merit and benefit to people that live here now. I will demand that development be tied to transportation, schools, public service and environmental needs. I will not be in the pocket of the developers.
How should we deal with the issues of traffic and transportation in Loudoun?
Transportation is the next major issue facing Leesburg and Loudoun. We are at a crossroads. If we don’t get handle on our traffic issues now we are going to lose the opportunity to ever get major improvement to our problems. The next Board of Supervisors needs to work with the NVTA to make sure that the money coming back to Northern Virginia goes into projects that will make the most impact here in Loudoun. The next Board of Supervisors needs to work to encourage the use of public transit, telecommuting, flex schedules and simple things such as retiming traffic lights.
I wrote to the governor on this very issue. In town I requested that staff look at the lights driving out of town on Rt. 7. They did, and found their timing was slightly off. This simple change has made a small, but measurable, improvement on th route out of town.
Our transportation problems will only grow if we continue to allow over development in residential development. My opponent has voted for over 90% of the rezoning that has come before him. He would rather you sit in traffic so his developer buddies can build houses that create more traffic.
It is time for a change.
How should the County manage school funding during the next Board term?
School funding is a huge part of the budget. This will continue to be the case as long as we continue to allow over development. (As more houses are built, more schools are needed.)
We need to work with the school board to create an environment that will allow communication and compromise. We should be meeting with the school board on a regular basis to review their budget.
Last year my opponent voted to cut 79 million dollars out of the school budget. That would have meant that my class of 28 would then go to 30, the salary increases to keep our brightest and best teachers here would not have happened. If the cut had gone through, salaries would have had to be lowered.
In this time and place we should not have trailers as classrooms. What a terribly inefficient way to solve a problem. We must continue to support our schools so that they they continue to produce an educated work force.
There has been a lot of controversy over the water rate that Leesburg charges out-of-town customers, would your care to explain that?
The town has a Utility Fund (water/sewer system fund) that, like many towns, is an Enterprise Fund. It is expected to be run as a business and sustain itself from the rates it charges. The fund serves customers both in town and out. There is no additional cost to serve the out–of- town customers. It costs the Utility Fund the same to service the in town resident as it does the out of town resident. However, there is a 50% surcharge on out of town users.
The council before my term approved hiring a consultant to look at the Utility Fund (water/sewer fund) and make any recommendation to improve it. The report came back that we had not raised Utility Funds Rates (water/sewer rates) since 1992 and the fund was in trouble. So the consultant recommended that customers that were not in town continue to be charge a special fee of 50% and that everyone’s rate, in town and out, would go up 9%.
Instead of doing what the paid consultant suggested, a member of the council made a motion to increase out of town surcharge rate to 100% with an rate increase of 8%, so that in town residents would only see a 2% increase. To me this was terribly unfair. Since taxes do not pay the Utility Fund and it costs no more to service the out of town customers than in town customers, I could not see the justification to raise the out of town rates so dramatically in such a short period of time.
There were no numbers, no data to support the increase for the out of town customers. So for that reason I was the sole vote in opposition. If it cost more to service the out of town customers, I could understand the need to charge them more. Since the fund has nothing to do with our taxes and it costs the same to serve out of town and in town customers, I could find no justification to penalize one group over the other.