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Town Manager Kaj Dentler Presents Proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget to Leesburg Town Council
Leesburg, VA (February 13, 2019) – At the Leesburg Town Council meeting on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, Town Manager Kaj Dentler presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget and Fiscal Year 2020-2025 Capital Improvements Program. In this first year of the two-year budget cycle, the Town Council is scheduled to adopt the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget and provisionally approve the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget on March 26, 2019.
The proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget is built upon a real property tax rate of 19.4¢ per $100 of assessed value. Overall, assessments for residential properties in the Town of Leesburg increased 3.8% from 2018. At the proposed tax rate, the average Leesburg single family homeowner’s annual tax bill will increase approximately $72, or $6 per month.
Dentler’s top priority in the proposed budget is the creation of an Emergency Management Director position, which will be responsible for preparing, planning, training, and managing the Town’s response efforts during emergencies. This function has been filled in the past as an additional duty assigned to a number of different positions. Given the growth of the town, this critical role now requires dedicated staffing, which the Town has never had.
Dentler also has requested six other new full-time positions in the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund budget, including five positions in the Police Department and one position in Information Technology. The five Police Department positions are three patrol officers, a special investigations detective to focus on the opioid crisis and gang activity, and a youth services coordinator to proactively engage our youth. The position in Information Technology is a new systems administrator and is the highest need identified in the Information Technology Strategic Plan recently endorsed by the Town Council and the Town’s Technology and Communications Commission. A seventh new full-time position, a Project Manager in the Public Works and Capital Projects Department, will be funded using Capital Improvements Program revenue and not local tax funding.
The other major change to the budget is the elimination of the Town’s contribution to the Leesburg volunteer fire and rescue companies. In 2013, Loudoun County consolidated the professional and volunteer fire companies throughout the county into a combined system and assumed the responsibility of financial support to the volunteer companies. Under the combined system’s funding formula, the Town’s contribution to the Leesburg companies decreases their overall funding from the County. In order to minimize the funding impact to the Leesburg volunteer companies, Dentler has recommended phasing out the $500,000 contribution over the next three years, which will save the Town approximately $166,000 in Fiscal Year 2020.
One significant increase to the base budget is approximately $300,000 for the Town’s refuse and recycling contract. About one-third of the increase is attributable to new homes and contractual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index. The other two-thirds of the increase is related to global changes in the decreased demand for recyclable materials, particularly glass.
The Town Council will hold a series of public work sessions to discuss the budget over the next month, with adoption of the budget and setting the 2019 real estate tax rate scheduled for March 26, 2019. A list of meeting dates and times and a copy of the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget, as well as a copy of last night’s budget presentation, is available on the Town’s website at www.leesburgva.gov/budget.
Public Information Officer