Friday, February 10, 2012

Loudoun Budget Report: Schools To Be Cancelled?

If You Want This...
Expect this...

Bringing Metro into Loudoun County sounds good but do not overlook that you absolutely will give up plenty to pay for it. It is not free, in fact the payments will be huge, and they will never stop, NEVER.

If Loudoun opts in to Rail to Loudoun, each and every year after it is completed, Loudoun County will get a bill from Metro for $100 million or more. Loudoun will also write a $25 million check every year for about 30 years to pay the mortgage on the construction costs for Rail to Loudoun. That is roughly equal to the cost of 4 new schools every year. It is time to do a reality check on this spending because our accounts are already overdrawn.

$175 Million - is the cost per year to service Loudoun's current debt.

$1.4 billion - Loudoun’s current debt plus approved bond issues.

Tim Hemstreet just proposed a $1.27 FY13 Tax Rate. That sounds good. But what happens when the big rail bills start coming in? It’s pretty clear from our supervisors’ recent campaigns that raising taxes is off the table.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Update...$100 million per year, FOREVER

Update If you are driving in Fairfax or Loudoun and see the signs popping up asking for lower tolls and more state money, this is astroturfing. It is done by big organizations like unions or even possibly MWAA operating through unions, trying to look like grassroots activism. They are promoting a taxpayer funded bailout to pay for the Metro/Dulles Corridor business stimulus. As usual, they think the fix is more gov’t spending to support a project that cannot support itself. Move over Solyndra.

There are some Rail to Dulles cost numbers flying around that are really quite shocking. A recent Purcellville Gazette ad said Loudoun County would pay $100 million per year, FOREVER. Could this possibly be true? Yes it can, it is, and you can see the numbers here.

Does Loudoun County really have that kind of money on hand and ready to spend on this project? Let’s step back and take a look at how little is really known about this rail project.

$100 million per year, forever is an estimate based on the best cost information available, and it is a conservative estimate. No doubt it will be refuted, but if you hear someone question the accuracy, ask for a better estimate of the cost and ask where it came from and please share it with me. Cross my heart and hope to die, there are no real cost summaries out there, because rail's promoters know that if there were, this project would be deader than a proverbial doornail, period.

There is a drama going on of epic proportions, and few people in Loudoun even know about it, or care. Hopefully that will be changing in the weeks ahead. In just a few weeks, Loudoun’s brand new Board of Supervisors will finalize the single largest financial decision in Loudoun’s history; or I should say, they will decide whether or not to let stand a decision that has already been made.