Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet kicked off the county’s annual budget review process Wednesday by presenting a proposed spending plan for fiscal 2018 that funds almost all of the school system’s request and provides staffing for several new facilities while holding property tax bills steady.
The $2.5 billion budget complies with the Board of Supervisors’ demand for a plan that avoids increasing the average homeowners’ tax bills. It would boost local funding by $61 million for the school system and $27.7 million for the general county government.
One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Loudoun County is a triangle of undeveloped land along the south side of the Dulles Greenway, bounded roughly by the Greenway, Old Ryan Road and the Loudoun County Parkway. The nondescript parcel — formerly not-very-good farmland — is desirable solely because of its location next to the future site of Ashburn Station, the western terminus of Metro’s Silver Line.
Loudoun County has recently been ranked among the wealthiest, happiest and best places to live in the country. But there is one list it is unlikely to make: places with the best nightlife. And that makes local business leaders unhappy.
The Virts family has been engaged in traditional farming (think heavy equipment, rigid growing seasons and cornfields stretching for acres) since it settled in Loudoun County in the late 18th century. Twelve generations later, things are beginning to change.
Donald Virts, who farms 1,000 acres in northern and western Loudoun, decided that he had to adapt his methods to evolving economic and environmental conditions. His new business model, which he is introducing at CEA Farms north of Purcellville, embraces concepts such as hydroponics (growing crops in water), controlled environment farming, renewable energy sources and marketing directly to consumers.