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Sterling News from Sup. Delgaudio

March 28, 2002

STERLING PLANNING MEETING

Saturday, April 27 is the date for the "Sterling Area Planning Meeting" at Park View High School at 9 a.m. This is the last in a series of planning meetings to decide Loudoun's long term plans for the community. Don't be shy, express yourself.

These are community input meetings on implementation of the revised Comprehensive Plan and are designed to seek input on community needs from residents of Sterling to help the Board in its Plan implementation efforts.

SPECIAL SUPERVISOR DELGAUDIO EVENT

MONDAY, MAY 13 ADVANCE NOTICE

Please save the date and consider coming to a special event at Glory Days Grill Restaurant on Monday, May 13, 2002 at 7 P.M. I am asking for public support for my conservative policies and hope you can express your support at this event. There is no charge for admission. There will be a letter in the mail devoted to this topic and, God willing, plenty of sponsors.

Sterling Appointments, Party Chairwoman

I am nominating Matthew Herter, who lives next to the Claude Moore Park, as Sterling Rep on the Parks and Rec. Board. Tim Sparbanie has agreed to be appointed to the Open Space Advisory Board. Bobby Baker, former chair of the Sterling District has rejoined the Republican Committee and Suzanne Volpe has been re-elected by acclamation as the Chairlady of the Loudoun Republican Party. Volpe is one of the most underestimated leaders in recent Loudoun County history. She has united all factions and produces a conservative agenda.

Volpe and Shockey, Women of the Year?

Volpe was nominated to be one of six women of the year by Elaine Luther. The Woman's Commission (Sterling has one appointee, Melinda Meador) will select six of Women of the Year.

Here is what Letty Lou Schantz, Ph.D. said in nominating Patricia Shockey for Loudoun County Woman of the Year:

"Though there are many great women in Loudoun County, Patricia Shockey stands out as a woman who has single handedly had the greatest impact on County residents. She has caused them to challenge the policies, pronouncements, and assumptions of elected officials and boards in Loudoun. By assertively propounding her philosophy, she has set the tone for debate without compromise." Congratulations to both Woman of the Year nominees Volpe and Shockey.

Group Forms To Retire Pro-Tax Increase Officials

I will NOT be attending THE VIRGINIA CLUB FOR GROWTH Luncheon discussing THE GREAT TAX REFERENDUM MISTAKE because I will be at a scheduled board meeting. But long time friends Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Pat McSweeney, former GOP State chairman, and Peter Ferrara are worth listening to Monday, April 15, 12 noon at the Tysons Corner Marriott 8028 Leesburg Pike (Route 7 and 495). If you can go RSVP: April15@stopsalestax.org or call (703) 642-5567.

Montgomery County Under Federal Protection

The Department of Education has issued a letter to a group, that I head, agreeing to investigate discrimination against the Boy Scouts of America by the Montgomery County School District. This letter states that all witnesses are now under the protection of the Office of Civil Rights, the Department of Education. It is in my capacity as the head of this pro-family group that I have filed briefs at the Supreme Court in defense of the Scouts and helped to work for the passage of the Defend The Scouts Act. I charged Montgomery County with violating this federal law. The federal government has agreed to investigate and protect all witnesses or victims from this point on. To those of you who have been in the either Girl or Boy Scouts, it is a proud moment for all of us. Both Girl and Boy Scouts troops in Mo Co will be positively effected by this effort. It is a low moment for Mo Co, Maryland.

Purchase Of Development Rights Empties TOT Coffers

Sure, you can sell your development rights to the government. And you can sell your soul to Satan. The fact that it is a voluntary transaction in either case does not make it a wise decision -

Now, the Board of Supervisors has voted to shift the funding of $980,000.000 in PDRs (purchase of development rights) to TOT tax money (Transient Occupancy Tax). I blew the whistle to alert the people who pay this tax, principally the hotels and resorts. I called this retreat from using general tax revenue a "new flank movement against the tourist service industry of Loudoun".

I also call this a raid on an industry that pays towards promoting Loudoun County with a TOT (every visitor to Loudoun pays this) and on an industry that is also a contributor to the special Route 28 Tax District which goes to building roads and all of these companies pay commercial taxes also.

BOARD DISRUPTING INDUSTRY THAT PAYS SEVERAL TAXES

So, now this great economic engine that pays TOT, Route 28 Tax District taxes, and commercial taxes to the county is going to be beaten with the PDR baseball bat by this board of supervisors majority, led by Chairman York. Chairman York says PDRs will help improve tourism. I say pull the plug on PDRs as a slush fund that destroys property rights with taxpayer funds. Only Supervisor Drew Hiatt agrees with me on this. And a unanimous service industry. Here's what a top industry leader says about the Loudoun Board's raid on this fund set aside to promote tourism being raided for "PDRs":

Harold L. Powell, Jr., Director of Sales & Marketing at Lansdowne Resort says "I have not spoken with anyone in the lodging industry (small/large, limited service/full service, B&B/resort) who is in favor of using restricted TOT funds to buy PDR's.

We understand consideration is being given to use TOT funds to purchase Property Development Rights (PDR's). Many others in the lodging industry are strongly against such a use. (To give you some background, Lansdowne Resort is budgeted to generate $630,800 in TOT in 2002, which is approximately 23% of the total tax collected.)

We do not feel such utilization is in any way consistent with the State legislation that requires any increase above two percent to be "designated and spent for tourism, promotions, travel, or business that generates travel in the locality".

In conclusion, members of this industry and all opponents of PDRs, need to express themselves at the April lst business meeting of the Board of Supervisors about this latest attempt to fund a bad "land banking program".

TOT funds are supposed to advertise the county, not "buy" development rights. This shift from general tax funds to TOT tax money is just a sham to say "PDRs aren't paid with your tax money, they're paid by tourist fees. "

But Loudoun taxpayers pay big time due to lost revenue to the tourist industry as money going to promote that industry results in lost revenue which then results in lost commercial tax revenue to Loudoun County, lost tax revenue to the Route 28 tax district and less money to the TOT fund itself as a result of the board raiding a self-funding advertising fund!

Here is another voice on PDRs:

GUESS WHO WANTS TO STOP PDRs? THE PERSON WHO DESIGNED THEM!

Did you think your Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (and one other) were the only persons who want to stop the PDR program? At a recent board meeting Helen Syska, the person who chaired the design committee for PDRs, told the Board of Supervisors that "not another dollar should be spent on PDRs until there is a full evaluation of the program."

Get the picture? PDRs - the county's plan to pay landowners millions of dollars to not develop their land - has now met reality and fallen dead. Here is the of some of Ms. Syska's cogent points, as I would re-state them:

1.When PDRs were initiated, there was no "downzoning" program in West Loudoun County. Why should we pay people to take land out of development when the whole county has been downzoned, making development next to impossible? Isn't this just one big waste of taxpayer money?

2. Landowners who like the PDR program are often people who don't like development. Why pay landowners to take land out of development, when many - or most - would never develop it anyway?

3. Why take land completely out of use? This land is largely rural or agricultural, and if the public is paying to keep it "natural," couldn't the public be allowed some hiking trails? Or some other use, so they get something for their money?

4. Why is the County paying a landowner a princely PDR sum for one parcel in eastern Loudoun that is already in a conservation district, and can't be developed anyway?

5. Today, when there is a recession and many people can't find work, why is the county paying often-wealthy landowners millions for PDRs, allowing them added benefit of lower taxes? Wouldn't there be better ways to spend this?

The Board did not have any good responses to Ms. Syska's good questions. But here is a good response: listen to her! Then do what she recommends: RECONSIDER THE WHOLE PDR PROGRAM! And we certainly should not be using "TOT" funds or any tax funds for it.

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