Residential owners in Loudoun County will not be receiving the $165 tax rebate check as was previously suggested. The money will instead be used toward lowering the fiscal year 2007 tax rate.
The Board of Supervisors voted 6-1-2 to apply the surplus money to next year's budget instead of sending it to county's homeowners in form of a rebate. Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) was the lone dissenter while Supervisor Jim Clem (R-Leesburg) was absent. Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) was present for the discussion, however, he left the meeting before the vote was taken.
"Taxpayers are indeed getting their money back," said Supervisor James Burton (I-Mercer) about the decision. The money will be applied to the following fiscal year's tax rate. The decision represents sound accounting principles, said Supervisor Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac).
The board's finance/government services committee voted 3-2 in December to recommend the surplus be returned to the taxpayers in form of a rebate. The surplus was around $21 million. Of that, $16.5 million was suggested for the rebate. After that December committee meeting Staton said the rebate would bring more honesty to the budget process if the people got some money back. He said the fact there is a surplus means the taxpayers had been overcharged when last year's tax rate was set.
"If you overcharge someone, you give the money back to them," said Staton Tuesday. It is the best and most honest thing to do, he said.
Two other members of the finance committee supported Staton in December. At the time, Delgaudio said the board did not have the authority to spend the surplus, as it is deemed to be money outside the budget. He said within the budget there is an expected carryover, the surplus is money above the carryover, and therefore outside the budget.
Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) voted for the tax rebate in December as well. She said she would rather see the money returned to the taxpayers than spent on programs ,which did not go through a budget process.
However, Waters voted against the tax rebate at the board's Jan. 3 meeting. "In theory I support a tax rebate," she said, but added a rebate would cost roughly $500,000 to fulfill. Also, the residents would have had to send their social security numbers to the county so their tax records can be updated showing they received a rebate. Waters said she is not interested in getting the social security numbers from the residents.