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Issues

Proposed Proffer Revisions

Proffer Resolution for Discussion - January 2018
 
I will offer a resolution for consideration by the Frederick County Board of Supervisors regarding proffers. 
 
As you know, the General Assembly in 2016 passed a revision on proffer legislation to specify that only “specifically attributable” items could be required for proffers.  We had one case last year in which the proffer amount for services was reduced because of this law.  We are likely to have another situation regarding Middletown requesting another proffer reduction of a significant amount.   
 
Delegate Gilbert, the new majority leader, and Senator Obenshain have working groups on this proffer situation.  No legislation has yet been introduced.  I have spoken with Delegates Chis Collins and Dave LaRock about this issue and have written to Senator Vogel as well.  Senator Black also may have a bill to study this issue.  A resolution requesting action could be helpful in revising existing law. 
 
The county has an existing population of approximately 84,000 which is expected to grow to 120,000 by 2040.  Current county debt is approximately $144 million which will increase to $171 million when the bonds for the new elementary school are issued.  The School Board has requested $271 million in new capital projects in the next 5 years.  That represents a 158% increase on existing debt obligations.   
 
As the population grows, those people moving into the county will have a demand for new schools or school additions, additional fire and rescue personnel including emergency medical services, additional sheriff needs, and other needs.  Under current law, the cost of those new services likely will be borne by current county residents with increased taxes.  I believe that the cost for these new services should be borne by those requesting these new services.   
 
I am requesting that the Board of Supervisors support a resolution requesting the General Assembly to pass legislation which will give counties the authority to raise revenue from developers, builders, and/or buyers (or some combination thereof) of new construction to cover the capital costs associated with that construction.  That would give the county the needed revenue for new development without burdening existing residents with new higher taxes.   
 
People moving into Frederick County are requiring new capital expenditures to meet their needs.  If new residents paid those one time capital costs, the county would have the money to meet the new expenditures without raising taxes on existing residents. Existing taxes should meet ongoing operating expenses.   If the total capital costs of new development are not fully paid for by those causing that development, then the county is forced to subsidize that cost through increased taxes.  If those causing the new development fully paid their associated capital costs, then existing residents would not have to subsidize new development.   
 
For example, residents in Snowden Bridge have requested the Board of Supervisors to build a new elementary school because of the new neighborhood houses.  County taxpayers have to foot the bill for the additional $28.5 million expense.  If the developers, builders, and/or buyers of those homes had paid a onetime capital cost for their demands, the new residents could have had a new elementary school and the county would not have had to incur additional debt.  The developer proffered the land for the school, but not the construction costs. The additional cost would have been about $10,550 per house assuming the building of 2,700 houses.   
 
From a builder’s and developer’s perspective, I understand that lower price houses are easier to sell than higher priced houses.  However, the additional capital cost reflects the true cost of the house. Those developing, building, and buying the houses should pay their total fair share and not expect existing residents to subsidize their requests.  A study about three years ago said that the capital costs for single family houses was approximately $19,000, and the costs for town houses and multifamily dwellings was approximately $14,000 based on costs at that time.  Existing costs for new schools have risen considerably in the last three years.   
 
To the building and developer community:  A higher priced housing unit may be a little harder to sell, but if the price truly reflects the actual costs, then the price is appropriate unless builders and developers expect the county taxpayers to subsidize the additional costs of new development.  The true cost of a house will reflect the true demand for that house.  This proposal allows builders and developers to continue to make money by having customers that can pay for their own increased capital costs. 
 
To the school and teaching community:  You have huge capital requests in the next five years.  To meet your requests, county taxes likely will have to rise more than 150 percent.  This proposal will help to meet your needs while not having to significantly raise county taxes. 
 
To current county residents:  The county is expected to grow in the next 20 years, especially in the eastern part of the county. This proposal will accommodate the increased needs of a growing population while keeping current taxes lower than would otherwise be expected. 
 
In summary, the additional capital costs for new development simply reflect the true cost of that development.  With new development come additional operating costs including new salaries for teachers, school personnel, firemen, ambulance personnel, and deputies, more maintenance of existing buildings, and other related costs.  The revenue from real estate, business, and other county taxes theoretically should pay for those new and ongoing operating costs. 
 
 
Resolution to Revise Proffer Legislation 
 
Whereas the Frederick County population is expected to grow significantly in the next 20 years; 
 
Whereas the additional  population demands of that growth will require additional schools and/or school additions, additional fire and rescue personnel, additional emergency service personnel, and additional sheriff deputies among other needs; 
 
Whereas the current language of current law does not allow Virginia counties the flexibility to raise the capital costs of new development from those causing that development;  
 
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Frederick County Board of Supervisors respectfully request that Senator Vogel, Delegates Collins, LaRock, and Gooditis, and all other members of the General Assembly and Governor revise existing law to allow counties the flexibility to raise the total cost of new development from those causing that development

Reasons to Re-elect Blaine Dunn

Fiscal Issues

  • Saved taxpayers $80 million on new high school alternative.  Dunn proposed, and the Board supported an addition to Millbrook High School to accommodate high school overcrowding while saving the taxpayers more than $80 million which would have resulted in a 45% real estate tax increase.  This addition should eliminate the need for teachers to teach on carts.  
  • Voted and advocated for reduced tax rates in 2016 and 2017.  He offered a compromise rate of $0.58 which would have met county and school needs with slightly less saved for future capital expenditures, but a 5.5% on average real estate tax savings.
  • Advocated for multiyear budgets to control debt and spending
  • Advocated for purchases of sheriff cars and school buses on a systematic replacement schedule for public and student safety
  • Advocated to change proffer & impact fees to lessen future taxes.  This would put the cost to the county of schools and emergency services on those moving into the county without putting the new additional cost on the existing residents.

Citizen Input

  • Held 5 town hall meetings to get citizen input on policy issues.  Dunn is the only supervisor to hold town hall meetings for citizen input.
  • Met with many constituents to solve problems & listen to concerns.  Dunn helped constituents regarding parks, lighting issues, day care, and trash removal among other issues.

Red Bud and Frederick County Improvements

  • Worked to make Frederick Heights Park usable in Red Bud
  • Kept Greenwood Recycle center open and driveway paved
  • Got traffic counts for Greenwood Road and Senseny Road (first since 2003) to help with future planning
  • Removed traffic barriers on Morning Glory
  • Improved safety with 25 mph traffic sign in Brookland Heights
  • Supported Izaak Walton shotgun range Conditional Use Permit
  • Worked to reduce Winchester water rates in Red Bud
  • Saved historic 18th century Clowser House from demolition.

 

Spending

The county total operating budget in the last three years has risen dramatically from $318.3 million to $367.0 million this year.  That $48.7 million increase is a 15% rise since 2013.  The total additional expenditures above the 2013 budget will be over $93 million  by the end of this fiscal year.   

The county general fund expenses have grown 22% in the last three years from $127.2 million to $154.8 million this year for an increase of $27.6 million.  The increases have been 4.59%, 7.04% and a proposed 8.73% for this upcoming year. 

According to county statistics, the population growth has risen less than 2,000 in the last three years.  The economy has been flat during the same time frame. 

I would like to slow this rapid rate of spending by the county government.  The budget growth exceeds the population growth for the same time frame.


Development and Infrastructure

As the county grows, the county needs to make sure that the infrastructure that accompanies that growth is in place.  It is much easier to build infrastructure and then housing and businesses than trying to build infrastructure after development.


Town Hall Meetings

I have lived in Red Bud since 1997, but have never had a supervisor hold a town hall to get voter input and to share his views.  Have you?   

I want to represent you, the voters of Red Bud.  During my campaign I held Town Hall Meetings and since my election to office of Supervisor I have continued to hold periodic town hall meetings so that you can have a voice in the decisions made by the Board of Supervisors.   


Education

A quality education is important to all students.  A good education will help students keep competitive in a world which will become increasingly competitive.  Students need to learn the basic skills of reading, basic math, writing, science, history and thoughtful reasoning to be productive citizens.  Students may supplement the basic courses with courses ranging from foreign language to shop to music and art.

The county needs to make sure the students get the best value for the taxpayer money which is spent on education.  Schools need to have passing grades for their students. 

Money spent on new schools should be justified and get the best value for the money expended.


Greenwood Road Recycle Center

I support efforts to keep open the recycle center on Greenwood Road.  The center is an effective and easy way for local citizens to recycle newspapers, plastic, metal, and cardboard. 

Those that said the center should be closed cited numerous accidents, but in my 18 years in the neighborhood, I have never seen or heard of an accident.  The current staff at the site also have seen no accidents in the last 18 months that they have been there.  Ironically, the fire station and ambulance station is adjacent to the property and no one has cited accidents to suggest that they relocate. 


Water

As the county grows, water will become a more critical issue.  We will have to look at ways to ensure that the water supply matches the population growth. 

Current water usage is about 7.92 million gallons per day.  The Virginia Department of Health recommends that when a county is using 80 percent of the source capacity, the county should begin searching for additional water sources.  That is expected to occur in 2020 based on current projected growth.

We will need to address this issue in a thoughtful manner to ensure that all citizens have the water they need.



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