Investigate the Board of Equalization

Public input session, Loudoun Board of Supervisors

Nov. 1, 2011

Ed Burrell, Ashburn District

Good evening, Madam Chair and Board of Supervisors; Manager Hemstreet:

I wanted to approach you this evening just to convey to you a thought that the BOS I feel should be aware of: a potential lack of stewardship by the Loudoun County Board of Equalization, and it has become rather worrisome to a number of us in the community.

During this political season, in which many of you are participating, we are hearing how you and others want to increase the commercial tax base to better balance values with the residential property values and the tax load.

Unfortunately, the Board of Equalization does not seem to be always on your team.

They often work at cross-purposes with the Board of Supervisors on such matters by granting unsubstantiated reasons to reduce particular commercial assessments, often in alliance with certain attorneys who are fostering this environment for their own gain, and often, on your dollar.

Many of us believe that the Board of Equalization and their business partners do not realize that Loudoun is no longer the Good Old Boys and Girls form of government.

They all too often appear to be inconsistent, arbitrary and subject to [inaudible] influence particularly when it comes to commercial property values.

In the past few years you have made great strides in professionalizing the Loudoun County assessor’s office, and from all indications they employ well-qualified personnel utilizing modern assessment tools and methods.

Unfortunately, the Board of Equalization often thinks that what they do is better, and they often do it with little or no notice to the public, particularly when it comes to significant large assessment changes, and most importantly, with no real oversight or accountability.

I am here tonight as one voice, to let you know that in the coming months, and certainly in the next few years, you may be held accountable, not because of your participation in their escapades, but because you did nothing.

I encourage you to take positive steps to encourage the county assessor’s office, which you so faithfully created, and institute a thorough study, or possibly an investigation, of the Board of Equalization before it becomes another Loudoun headline of corruption on your watch.

Thank you all for all of your service.

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