Waterford Foundation Gets $150K Boost From County

The Waterford Foundation will receive $150,000 from the county government to help it recover from the cancellation of the village’s fair in October.

The foundation cancelled the Waterford Homes Tour & Craft Exhibit for the first time in its 72-year history amid a declared state of emergency around Hurricane Joaquin. Loudoun escaped damage from the hurricane, but the foundation, financially, did not.

Waterford Foundation Executive Director Tom Kuehhas wrote to the county asking it to help defray the sunk costs of the cancelled fair, which he estimated at $250,000. Kuehhas wrote that the foundation estimates the Waterford fair pumps $4.5 million of visitors’ money into Loudoun businesses each year.

“There is no available cash within the foundation to fund this, so the likelihood that the fair will not happen if we don’t fund it is very possible,” said Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin). Higgins lives near Waterford and has been involved with the foundation, including recently serving as honorary chair at the foundation’s Valentine’s Sweetheart Ball.

Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin). (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)
Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin). (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

The money comes from the county’s transient occupancy tax on visitor stays at hotels, motels and other businesses offering guest rooms. Part of the revenue from that tax is set aside for promoting tourism and travel to Loudoun.

Some supervisors were hesitant about giving the Waterford Foundation the money.

“I really think that in doing this for 72 years, that the Waterford Foundation would have put aside a little bit of reserve each year, because in 72 years, something’s going to go wrong sooner or later,” said Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn). Buona said he supported the allocation only because the money comes from the restricted transient occupancy tax fund, which is set aside for economic development.

Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) suggested the money come with a caveat: that the foundation purchase event insurance. That amendment was incorporated into Higgins’ motion to grant the request.

Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said it would have been wise for the foundation to purchase insurance. Nonetheless, she supported the payout because it is the first time the Waterford Foundation has requested public funds for the event.

“There are sometimes reasons for exceptions to the rule, and a hurricane is a pretty good exception to the rule reason,” Randall said.

“Being a bailout fund for nonprofit events, I think, falls well outside the scope of our county government,” protested Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run).

The motion passed 8-1, Meyer opposed.

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10 thoughts on “Waterford Foundation Gets $150K Boost From County

  • 2016-03-29 at 2:04 pm

    21 million on a boondoggle computer software program. Another 20 million on a shooting range taxpayers will never get to use. Tens of millions per year of hikes in school funding. Gross overpayment for land for county use. And now, welfare for the wealthy.

    They don’t care. After all, it’s not as if it’s their money.

  • 2016-03-29 at 2:48 pm

    And its not your money, either, Chris (unless you spend a lot of time living in a motel). The article makes it clear that the money is coming from the transient occupancy tax. But, then again, why should we be surprised that you would fail to understand something so basic about public finance.

  • 2016-03-29 at 3:59 pm

    I’ll split the difference on this one — It is TOT money, yes, but that should be earmarked already for various uses — so if it’s spent on this, then there is something else that will not get their money. If we’re lucky, maybe the Redskins will get shortchanged.

  • 2016-03-29 at 4:34 pm

    Its tax money collected in the name of the citizens of Loudoun County, thus, it’s our money. I know that can be a difficult concept to grasp for some, but that is the reality.

    Of all people Mr. Lawgh, I would have thought you’d be incensed by these folks gambling by not buying insurance; then losing, and then coming to the taxpayers with their hand out.

    Welfare for the wealthy Mr. Lawgh. It doesn’t get any more plain than this example. Reasonable people understand the necessity of paying taxes for the common good. What ticks them off is seeing their hard earned money squandered away wastefully, time and time again.

    Tell us Mr. Lawgh, how many full time teachers could we have added for a 150k? How many teacher’s aides, or kindergarten slots would this have created, even for just a year? How many school buses would this have obtained? How many Sherriff’s cruisers could we have purchased? What would an extra 150k done for the homeless shelter for a year? How many extra vaccinations would this have bought for the Health Department? How many programs or books would this have provided the libraries?

    Come ‘on Mr. Lawgh – You know everything. Let’s hear it.

    Excellent point Mr. Cmackg: maybe we’ll cut back on Loudoun Taxpayer support for billionaires and millionaires. Excellent.

  • 2016-03-29 at 5:13 pm

    Waterford Foundation is too stupid to buy insurance, and now we get to bail them out.

    “Being a bailout fund for nonprofit events, I think, falls well outside the scope of our county government.” I think Mr. Meyers statement is a vast understatement. The BoS shouldn’t have even considered this and, yet, it passes 8-1.

    Also, isn’t this the same foundation that holds literally millions of dollars of real estate? Can’t they mortgage one of their properties if they need the cash?

  • 2016-03-29 at 6:04 pm

    Chris, my very good friend, don’t get so upset. After all, since you are a shinning example of one who receives the value of millions in government services, and yet pays but a mere fraction in taxes, you really should not be so hard on yourself. Let’s see. If you are like most people, you pay, oh, I don’t know, maybe four or five thousand a year in taxes. And yet, you get sheriff protection, fire and rescue assistance when needed, roads to drive on, etc. All to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. And you do not pay the full cost of that. And as for public finance 101, when you have a special tax, you cannot dip into it to pay things that are paid for by what is called, “the general fund.” But, I guess, you do not know that. Oh well, one should never expect intelligent conversation from one’s friends all the time, eh.

  • 2016-03-29 at 8:16 pm

    That’s the rub Mr. D. As usual, you have it correct. They do indeed have a portfolio of property. I’ll go out in a limb and say its bit larger than yours, or mine.

    But why go through the goat rope of a mortgage, and all of that annoying paperwork and pesky interest, when they can stroll down the hill to Harrison Street and find eight willing souls to give them other people’s tax money.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love Waterford. Many of my friends lived there when I was a kid. I even played on the Waterford soccer team, and I’ve certainly woke up in a few odd places in the village after some real throw down parties.

    It’s not the foundation which disgusts me, rather, it’s the way our first tier elected officials callously throw our money around like a three day binge in Vegas, and then tell the rest of us to pony up more tax money to cover their losses.

  • 2016-03-29 at 8:55 pm

    That may be the most backwards piece you’ve written Mr. Lawgh. We’re all so lucky to pay taxes, so we all should just shut up and pay more. Ignore the waste and the picking of winners and losers… That’s what you’re saying.

    I never see deputies, unless they’re looking for someone. When my family home burned to the ground in the late 70’s, all I saw were 50 – 60 of my fellow citizens battling to save what they could on that frozen February night. They were all volunteers. Unlike when my neighbors barn caught fire a few years back, and there were seven firefighters and eight “battalion chiefs.” The barn burned to the ground anyway. My dirt road? My taxes to the Commonwealth cover that, and all of the other roads I’ve paid for over the years.

    Here’s some public finance 201 for you: When politicians need money, because they’re addicted to money, they just “un-restrict” their little “special tax” slush funds and start blowing it.
    You can’t really be that naïve, can you?

    Tell us: How many school busses does a 150k buy? How many sheriffs’ cruisers? How about a nice down payment on a brand new fire engine or ambulance? How many field trips for school kids would that pay for? How many tutors could we get for the kids having trouble keeping up? What impact would a 150k have at Loudoun Interfaith, or any other local food bank?

  • 2016-03-30 at 11:54 am

    My, my, my very good friend, Chris. I suspect that the article, which clearly points out that the funds are from a special tax account, that can only be used for such things. really seems to have struck a nerve. I would guess, that for some, a Public Finance 101 course is truly wasted. when the purpose of commenting is to continue a general, across the board, attack on government itself. I would have more respect for some, if they actually lived by their creed, and lived in such a way as to avoid all government services, because they morally objected to such things. But to make up stories, and then ignore reality, is both foolish, and dishonest. Apparently the voters have a different opinion than you do, Chris. since they seem determined to keep electing people you are so opposed to. That must really be very depressing.

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