Bacon Bits: Highs and Lows

Digital gold rush. How lucrative are data centers for Loudoun County? The prosperous Northern Virginia county expects to collect $200 million in fiscal 2020 from the property tax on computer equipment, up 35% over 2019, according to the Washington Business Journal. Last week, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a $3.2 billion operating budget that featured a “significant cut” to the real estate tax rate, an across-the-board pay raise for county employees, and $100 million more for county schools. Data centers are worth roughly $1,000 a year in lower taxes to Loudoun homeowners.

And at the other end of the fiscal spectrum…

Digging out. In the wake of the worst financial crisis suffered by any Virginia locality since the Great Depression, the City of Petersburg is building back its fund balance, The FY 2020 budget of $75.8 million will run a $2.6 million surplus this year and the city is budgeting for $3.6 million next year. The city still has a long way to go before reaching a fund balance of $18 million, healthy enough to fund the General Fund for three months, but it represents a dramatic improvement since FY 2016 when the fund balance collapsed to negative $7.7 million. Tax and utility payments remain high, but at least the city has a functioning government.

And in the “Them That Has Gets” department…

Substation beautification. Dominion Energy has won Fairfax County Planning Commission approval to upgrade its main electrical substation in Tysons to meet anticipated demand growth in the area. The utility plans to install gas-insulated technology, which requires less space than standard air-insulated equipment. The improvements will make the facility more efficient and less cluttered, reports Inside Nova. Three 70-foot-tall “backbones” would be replaced with a pair of 75-foot backbones placed at a lower elevation. A chain link fence topped with barbed wire would be replaced by a 12-foot, textured precast-concrete wall. Dominion also has offered to provide landscaping, install a sidewalk, and plant street trees. No word on the cost of the upgrades.

And, finally, in the world of Virginia media…

Another step in the nonprofitization of journalism. Responding to what he calls a “crisis in local journalism,” WHRO Public Media CEO Bert Schmidt announced that Hampton Roads public radio expects to hire a news director and two reporters. “We’ve seen over the years the number of people employed as journalists has dropped dramatically,” he said, according to the Virginian-Pilot. “We believe that local journalism is critically important and we hope that this effort will improve the quality local journalism in Hampton Roads.”

Just one question: Where do nonprofits get the money?

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2 responses to “Bacon Bits: Highs and Lows

  1. Does make you wonder, again, why it is that all rate payers in Virginia are subsidizing Loudon and those data centers by paying for undergrounding the power lines which supply them.

  2. Non profits can be as bad as for profit.

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