Letter: Ken Reid, Leesburg

Editor:   In your April 25 article, “Leesburg Council Sees Eroding Relationship In County Contract Request,” Councilmember Josh Thiel rightfully bemoaned the insufficient notice the county gave the Town Council to either develop its own land management information system for land-use review, a cost of about $360,000, or pay $29,063 annual to the county after July 1, or else the town will have no access.

You quote Thiel saying: “We’re paying taxes. They shouldn’t just kick us off. This is just big brother strong-arming us.”

However, it may really be a case of “big sister” not informing the council.

I am referring to Leesburg District Supervisor Kristen Umstattd and perhaps County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall, who by fact she is elected county-wide, also represents the Town of Leesburg. Supervisor Geary Higgins has but one precinct in the town in his Catoctin District.

Unless the town staff is deliberately giving the council little time to act so it hurries their decision making, it would seem to me that both Umstattd and Randall are derelict in their duties in not keeping the Town Council informed of these huge county expenditures. For example, in October 2017, when I was serving on the Town Council, staff said we had to act, that evening, on a request for county intergovernmental aid or we’d miss the deadline. In addition, the county recently gave Leesburg little notice of the new police dispatch system. It was pony up or shut up.

Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that all of these spending items go before the Board of Supervisors’ Finance and Government Services Committee, and Umstattd is not a member of that committee. Instead, she serves on the Transportation and Land Use Committee, which rarely has an item of interest to Leesburg.

But Randall serves on both panels. Perhaps she and Ms. Umstattd need to do a better job of either reading the county finance packets and notifying the Town of Leesburg, or ensuring county staff give all towns more notice about these expenses, on which the towns seem to have no input.

Town taxpayers in Loudoun pay county taxes, too, and so little of the county’s capital funds go to Leesburg—except the new courts complex and transportation, where the town has benefited greatly from support from the Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Leesburg residents continue to pay for flood control, sidewalks, traffic calming and rec centers in other parts of the county.

But it’s no burden for the two supervisors who represent the town as a whole on the county board to ensure the Town Council gets more time. Maybe council members won’t pay attention to their emails (I found that to be the case when I was Leesburg Supervisor, 2012 to 2015), but at least Randall and Umstattd can give a heads up to town staff.

Ken Reid, Leesburg

10 thoughts on “Letter: Ken Reid, Leesburg

  • 2019-05-03 at 4:52 pm

    Ken – you opinion was irrelevant when you lived in town. Now, despite not living here AND not having any business writing about Loudoun, you continue to insert yourself in our community. Please stay away.

  • 2019-05-04 at 12:18 am

    Imagine what Loudoun County would be like if Ken Reid had never been on the Board of Supervisors. We would not be facing the billions of dollars in costs that Loudoun County residents will have to pay for the Silver Line Metro. Ken was the swing vote that got us stuck with that mess. And his reputation on both the Town Council and the Board was always one of division and fighting. Just ask anyone who ever served with Ken on either body, and all you will hear is how much they disliked him the whole time he was there. May we never see Ken Reid in elected office here again.

  • 2019-05-04 at 6:59 am

    Ken, Is it possible you expect too much from Ms. Randall. Weren’t the majority of all the votes cast in the last election for other candidates than Ms. Randall. On your capital comment please don’t overlook the county investment in schools within the Leesburg border which is substantial. It remains interesting how many towns in Loudoun view their development decisions as independently self justified yet when high density residential gets approved it is the county taxpayers that have to bear the extra burden of educating the students. Towns and the County must work together and fully disclose all aspects of activities so all can be aware of potential impacts with lead time to react.

  • 2019-05-04 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks for the Silver Line mess, buddy! Our swamp is doing just fine without you.

  • 2019-05-04 at 9:48 pm

    I own a home, commercial property and pay a lot of taxes to Leesburg and Loudoun County. And, I vote here too!

    • 2019-05-05 at 12:56 pm

      owning property her makes you eligible to vote but not qualified to lecture us – stay down south

  • 2019-05-05 at 3:07 pm

    The Honorable Ken Reid would be preferred over the current Leesburg supervisor. He was 1 vote out of 5 which seems to be lost on the commenters apparently it is short term memory loss they suffer from. In this country we have a 1st amendment and it seems that a few people on this thread could learn a lot by listening to Mr. Reid. As far as fighting I am glad for a man that believes in himself. Thanks for your service Mr. Reid.

  • 2019-05-06 at 10:27 pm

    Bob Ohneiser raises a good point — the towns with zoning control often up-zone without much discussion with the County (Leesburg upzonings in the 1984 annexation area require developers to pay a “pass through” proffer for schools) And yes, the Chair can’t be expected to notify the towns of items before the Finance Committee; the district supervisor should be doing that and this is where Umstattd is failing — unless (as I wrote in the article) the Leesburg Town Staff is deliberately bringing these items late so the Council endorses their recommendation and has little time to debate. However, having little or token opposition in elections make incumbents lazy and unresponsive, and Kristen has no opponent at this point for the fall, so she can pretty much do as little as she wants and get re-elected. Same goes for a few Council members, too.

  • 2019-05-09 at 10:49 am

    Virginia law specifies which aspects of government that are the responsibility of municipalities in Virginia and under VA law it is the responsibility of the municipality to provide for the keeping of all records. Therefore maintenance of systems of record such as this are not part of what the taxes paid to the county by Leesburg residents are for. The county has been nice enough to provide use if this system without cost to the town because there was no additional cost to the county to do so. As the replacement system rolls out continuing to allow the town access will require developing an interface from the new system to the town’s other systems and ongoing maintenance of this interface. These are costs to the county that are directly related to Leesburg’s use of the system and it is only proper for Leesburg to pay for them.

    If anyone has been a bad partner in this relationship lately it has been the town of Leesburg. The continuing refusal to open Kincaid Boulevard being one glaring example.

  • 2019-05-10 at 9:16 pm

    Of course Ken Reid reacted to the first commentator, who pointed out something of great interest. That Ken Reid no longer lives in the Town of Leesburg. Which, interestingly enough, raises the next question, where has he been voting, and why is he no longer living in Leesburg. But the bigger question, is why does Ken Reid admit he really does not know what he is talking about – just look at both the qualifiers he puts in his letter, as well as his comment above – and still wants to attack people? I guess Ken Reid is doing what Ken Reid always does. Demonstrate that he, and the truth, are no friends.

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