Local activist Tom Dunn announced his candidacy for Council this week. Dunn is the author of the "Leesburg Votes" website, which bills itself as a non-partisan tool for getting people to vote in Town elections.
Make a difference get out and vote and bring a friend.The site gathers information from interested residents, ostensibly to coordinate voting drives for the Town. But with the founder and head of Leesburg Votes now a candidate for Council himself, it is unclear whether the site is truly a non-partisan tool, or simply an advanced front for Mr. Dunn's candidacy.
It does not matter what political party you belong to. But voting is important. - Leesburg Votes
Dunn said that he considered running for town council as many as two election cycles ago and, upon creation of his Web site, was actively trying to recruit others to run for council. But Dunn said that in talking with residents and hearing their concerns it showed him "that rather than sitting on the sidelines trying to convince current and future council members to do things a certain way I'd be better off considering those myself." Dunn has been spent nine years advising council with his work on various commissions, committees and subcommittees.It is interesting that Dunn has spent nine years "trying to convince...council members to do things a certain way" without too much success. That does not reflect well on either his consensus-building skills, or his ideas themselves. Considering Leesburg's record of success without Dunn's advice, the case for his candidacy is subject to question.
"I'd rather see that some of that advice gets followed," Dunn said. "The best way to do that is to be the one making decisions on it." - Leesburg Today
Dunn said that the biggest concern at hand for the town is the tax situation and said that the town needs to look at reducing spending and cutting taxes.Of course, it is unclear why we need to elect Tom Dunn to Council to do that. The Town appears to be doing a fine job managing taxes without his help. As a matter of fact, the budget proposed by Town Manager John Wells already includes lower taxes for Leesburg residents, while retaining the current levels of service citizens have come to expect.
"We need to show the citizens of Leesburg that we can cut the tax rate and actual taxes," he said. "If Leesburg can cut its spending thereby giving savings to citizens through reduced taxes maybe we can convince the board of supervisors to follow suit. It's not good enough to hold the line." - Leesburg Today
In a year that saw a bleak housing market and declining assessments, Town Manager John Wells found something that everyone can smile about: the average Leesburg homeowner's tax bill should decrease with his proposed tax rate of 18.75 cents.If lower taxes are Tom Dunn's reason for running, then surely he will bow out of the race now that this goal has been achieved? While this is unlikely, it is a valid question. Is Mr. Dunn against higher taxes, or simply against all taxes, and as such against the entire basis of our system of government itself?
Wells estimates that relief to be in the neighborhood of 2.8 percent and said that, even by lowering the tax burden on homeowners, his proposed $100,506,000 budget will maintain the services that town residents have come to expect. - Leesburg Today
The fact that the Town of Leesburg can afford to reduce taxes in a time of declining revenues shows just how well Leesburg has been managed for the past few years. It reflects well on the administration of Mayor Umstattd and her partners on Council, considering the difficulties the Board of Supervisors are facing with the mess left to them by the previous Board.
The candidates running against the record of Council, Tevis, Holtz and Dunn, are running against a record of success and prudence that is nearly unique in Loudoun. The County government faces a shortfall brought about by the mismanagement of the previous board. The town of Purcellville has been suffering power outages even as it pursues a quixotic fight against the County over a local high school. And the village of Waterford is battling its own safety and traffic issues. Meanwhile in Leesburg, we have excellent services, a low-impact, high-quality administration and sufficient skill and wisdom at the helm that the Town can lower taxes in a time of declining budgets without touching the Town's rainy day fund!
That is a record of excellence any Town would be proud of. That is a record of excellence the voters of Leesburg will do well to commend and ratify by re-electing Mayor Umstattd and sending Dave Butler to Council to continue. On May 6th, we can and should go to the polls and show our support for Leesburg.