Leesburg Asks Northam For Help In Securing More ARPA Funding

The Leesburg Town Council is less than thrilled with a projected 88% decrease in the amount the town is expected to receive as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Shortly after the House of Representatives passed the final version of the bill in March and sent it off to President Joe Biden to sign, Leesburg, like other localities, was provided with an estimate of their funding allocation courtesy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. That estimate showed Leesburg classified as a non-entitlement unit, or a local government that does not receive Community Development Block Grant funds directly from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that initial estimate, the town was expected to receive more than $48 million.

However,  when the final U.S. Treasury distribution list was released in early May, Leesburg’s classification had changed to an entitlement community because of its population surpassing 50,000 residents in the US Census Department’s 2010 Census. That change in classification, according to a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam authored by Mayor Kelly Burk, means the town now is estimated to receive only $5.9 million in ARPA funding.

Burk points out in her letter that Leesburg has continued to defer its CDBG entitlement status to Loudoun County. While the town is eligible to participate in the CDBG program because of its population, Leesburg does not have responsibility for the types of programs that receive such funding, like housing or social services, the letter points out. 

“As such, it is our position that the Town should be aligned with the other 202 cities and towns in Virginia that are also not CDBG recipients. To the best of our knowledge, Leesburg is the only jurisdiction in Virginia on the treasury’s entitled units allocation list that is not a direct CDBG grant recipient,” the letter reads. 

The $5.9 allocation means that, on a per capita basis, Leesburg is only receiving $110 per resident. The letter points out how Leesburg’s neighbors to the east and west have fared better on a per capita basis—Herndon (population 24,601, $25.5 million allocation); Purcellville (10,178, $10.6 million); Vienna (16,485, $17.1 million); and Berryville (4,371, $4.5 million). 

Had Leesburg been classified as a non-entitlement unit like some of its neighbors, the town would have $51.2 million, or $954 per capita. 

“Currently, out of the 228 Virginia cities and towns that are receiving ARPA funds, Leesburg is dead last when it comes to per capita allocation,” the letter stated.

Burk closes the letter asking Northam and the Virginia legislature to make the adjustment, and include Leesburg as an NEU “for the purposes of equitable distribution of Virginia’s ARPA allocation.” 

The Town Council is expected to discuss the matter during its Monday night work session, when it will also receive an updated financial outlook as it closes out fiscal year 2021.


This article was updated June 8 at 6:29 p.m. to correct an error about the US Census estimates.

3 thoughts on “Leesburg Asks Northam For Help In Securing More ARPA Funding

  • 2021-06-06 at 7:27 pm

    Tax and spend. Tax and spend. Tax and spend.

    It’s all fun and games ’til you run out of other peoples’ money.

  • 2021-06-07 at 11:43 am

    @ace10 That’s a nice mantra. Did you learn it during sing-along time on OAN? You clearly didn’t read the article or bother to understand the source of the funds or their intended use, did you? This is federal grant money allocated to help individuals and businesses in the town to grow and be competitive with the surrounding areas. If you think you aren’t deserving of a share of that, you’re free to send yours back in the form of extra taxes, but this is money you’ve already paid into the system. To refuse it is kinda like cutting off your nose to spite your face — which may be an improvement.

    • 2021-06-07 at 2:59 pm

      Your response is sad and hilarious at the same time.

      It’s obvious that you don’t understand what “federal grant money” is. It’s not created out of thin air. It’s tax dollars. a/k/a Other Peoples’ Money. I suppose you think it’s a GREAT idea to burden future generations with debt so that politicians can hand out money today? Money that will go to cronies and preferred constituents.

      The local (D) “leadership” excels at spending money. Heck, they’re world class spenders. Nobody else in their league. They spend. And then they tax us. Then they spend some more. And when they run out of that money, they hold out their hands, and demand more.

      And for future reference, when you chose to make a personal attack about my appearance, you lose the argument before you even start. Which is quite an accomplishment, since your argument is nothing hot air. (Surprised that LN would allow it TBH, since they’re such amazing guardians of online etiquette.)

      OAN? No clue. But I’m sure it’s a deep and insightful reference to something VERY important.

      Good grief.

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