Thursday, September 4, 2008

Loudoun Fiscal Conservatives.....What if?

If you are fiscally conservative (and after the fiasco of 2003-2007 and it's lasting effects, who isn't?) and you have school children who will need a new High School in South Riding so that they aren't sitting in each other's laps...
Let's say there was a piece of property that was closer than Lenah to the children it would serve.
Let's say it had much more acreage, but it costs less per acre than Lenah. Now, while we're dreaming....why don't we add the fact that it should also bring us much needed athletic fields as a by-product.
Sound like a tall order?

Introducing the Lambert Property for your consideration.

A property owner with about 190 acres just below South Riding (in the vicinity ofBraddock and Bull Run Post Office roads) has sent a letter to the BOS, offering to sell the land to the county for use as a school site. The price would be $75,000 per acre, which compared to Lenah's per acre price tag of over $200,000 -- is a terrific deal, even in our current market.

It's exciting because there appears to be a very strong chance that this site could serve as a home to HS-7, MS-5, as well as an elementary school. Compared apples to apples against the Lenah/Greenvest site of only 90 acres (too small for that elementary school) :(

Lambert is also closer to the main community it would serve, avoiding a scenario where large numbers of students are bussed long distances down Route 50 during rush-hour. Lambert is close to public utilities, too. Loudoun Water says that they would need an extra year to get utilities to Lenah/Greenvest over the time it would take them to do the hookup at Lambert.

Now, the best news yet.... a private firm has offered to buy 20 to 30 acres of the land to build a sports complex. So, the county can buy the land for about $14MIL, collect about $2MIL for that sports complex ....and end up saving $8MIL!

I'd expect that much money to be able to solve any remaining engineering problems, and maybe leave a bit behind to give back to the taxpayers. Whatd'ya think?

Call and write THESE guys to let them know if you think it's of the most importance to start saving YOUR money right now!!

Ed Hatrick 571-252-1000 schools@loudoun.k12.va.us
Robert DuPree 571-233-4610 Robert.DuPree@loudoun.k12.va.us
John Stevens 571-223-9810 John.Stevens@loudoun.k12.va.us

UPDATE:
I've decided that at least here, it's time to stop a head-to-head comparison , and go after each of the Dulles Schools on their individual merits and problems.
In other news.... Out West, we appear a step closer to WoodGrove. http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1071424.pdf

37 comments:

The Bulletproof Monk said...

One of my strongest considerations is hat in a time where we will actually witness a $100 MIL budget.... $8 MIL is $8 MIL, so what do we need to do to foster more of this type of thinking from our Supervisors? The local government's bottom line should be our first concern, because we're about to get ANOTHER tax increase in the years to come. THIS is how you attack that tax increase now.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single leg extension that ends in a step towards a defined destination. When the steps equal $8 MIL dollar increments, we'd only need eleven and a half more of them to eliminate the $100 MIL dollar operating budget.
It is a pretty significant step in the right direction, no matter who took it. I applaud this kind of thinking, and demand more of it.

Lee J. said...

I agree with the monk on this proposal. I also want to thank Stevens Miller for for his hard work and creative thinking on this school site issue.

Here is a link to an article by Erica Garman a writer for the WP and Val Cavalheri a contributor to the article and there are also Comments from Barbara and others.

loudounextra.washingtonpost.com/blogs/living-loco/2008/sep/05/will-millers-new-deal-trump-lenah-school-site/

Leej

The Bulletproof Monk said...

My posting from the 12:00 hour was directed to anonymous who posted the following:

"8 Million equals a penny on the tax rate. From one land deal. Seems like a steal to me."

I apologize to the author in that when I released the comment from moderation, it did not show up here, and appears to have been lost..

Anonymous said...

Monk--I found one of the posts I put here Friday, and it contains most of the info already at Loco, in slightly more excruciating detail.

Apparently I posted before you adjusted your filters.

I have not talked to anyone from Greenvest.

All I have are county documents and communications, from the realtor, the person employing them, Economic Development, Zoning, and Planning.

I also have emails.

This is an insider deal that truly makes Dale and the Saudi property laughably pale in comparison.

Barbara Munsey

The Bulletproof Monk said...

I would disagree on one point immediately. Dale's deal COST the county a probable $2 MIL, ($11 MIL vs. $13.2 MIL) whereas this one has the potential to cut $8 MIL from the budget.
Loudoun Water has reportedly placed the estimated time and effort on getting water and sewer to Lenah at one year....
And Dupree has never elaborated on exactly WHAT the two year holdup on this property would be. The rest of the story lies within the documents....but the comparison to Myer's deal is far-flung, and dangerously fictional.

Anonymous said...

We don't yet know what the cost comparison is, becuase all we know about Lambert is the possibility that it will cost $14M. Add in the $4M cost of bringing Lenah this far, and that is a savings of $2M.

Which will go away when the delay begins of starting over with new SPEX for however many schools can go on the site, which can't start until staff evaluates the site with that in mind and prepares the application.

That costs too.

You're stuck on Loudoun Water. The first school on Lenah would be scheduled to open in two years. One year isn't in time?

Lambert may be south of South Riding, but it doesn't mean it is easy access. TR3, Dean.

The mention of Dale punches your button, doesn't it?

Well, as I understand it, she was the listing agent on the property and disclosed it, right at the beginning.

Lambert has never been that clean on the part of the realtor who has represented themself as "representing one of the owners".

No, they are representing the sportsplex.

This is supposed to be about schools, remember?

Barbara

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Barbara, it's the mere suggestion that ANYONE could be as reckless and sleazy as Dale (my opinion, and I'm entitled to it) that punches my button.
I'm unable to do much of the research that I have to have to discuss this, so I was actually sticking to the parts that I can defend without the research, and planning on addressing the parts that require research till it's in hand. In that regard, you have me at a disadvantage until I can review what you already have. And I can't take your interpretation as gospel, because I'm good at reviewing things others have handed me and coming up with a completely different interpretation than what they intended. This thing can really take off on Monday.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

And it's not about the damned schools to me. Read the header. I'm pushing harder for the money. Taxes are out of control, and I'm hunting heads of those who don't mind pumping them higher, so long as they get their desires, while everybody else pays for it.

Anonymous said...

Dean, it is about the schools for me, because I have a kid in Mercer and one in Freedom.

I gave you my number. I'll meet you for coffee if you want, with my big fat folder of stuff.

Regardless of your conclusions, I think you may at the very least find that some of the stuff looks and smells like a great big steaming meadow muffin.

Call me tomorrow if you like.

Barbara

ken reid said...

Hey, Dean
Congratulations on your new blog! Be nice to us fiscal conservatives and please, pour as much hot sauce on the big spenders and libs as you possibly can!

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Barbara, I moderated one comment (I believe it was yours) regarding VLF financing, because quite frankly, I'm not going to give you a soap box on my blog. I SAT ON THE EX COM of that VLF, and I'm quite aware of the financing, and exactly why it came about, and what it was used to fight.

Now, with regard to you and Ken Reid's concerns on fiscal responsibility... I see my duty in Loudoun to watch the spending, and draw a hard line against those that think there is a bottomless coffer from which to draw.
Loudoun's citizens are tapped out....and the spending at the County level had better reflect that, or I will expose what I have to. I am not bought and paid for, and anyone who thinks that needs to re-examine my history. (Barbara---I agree that the instant one takes money to represent a cause, their objectivity is subject to scrutiny. At the same time, it does take money to get a message out to the masses. So, I watch which side of that fence the money is dumped on)

Dan said...

Barbara,

You've claimed that LCPS has already spent $4 mil on Lenah.

I'm curious where that number came from and what it has been spent on?

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Dan, I thank you for asking that exact point. I'm sure she can back it up...so we'll all be able to acknowledge it as a fact when it's proven.
I want to see all the verified expenses for each property, as well as the verified benefits of each property recorded on a LAMBERT TALLY SHEET. It is the only way you can truly figure a bottom line on both.
One of the foggy areas right now is the validity of a statement by Loudoun Water that has said there remains a one year delay in getting Lenah into the infrastructure. The counter point to this argument is whether Dupree can actually prove the validity of his statement that Lambert delays the opening by two years, despite the fact that it can get water a year before Lenah.
When all of this shakes out and every statement like these is indeed verified or misproven, we move closer to the actual truth.
I'm ALWAYS on the side of the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Dan, this is a county application, so county money has been spent both preparing and reviewing it. Engineering, traffic studies, environmental review, you name it. Read the application--it adds up.

LCPS has a section on their website about Lenah and other projects, which I am having a heck of a time getting to load. This is the link:

http://cmsweb1.loudoun.k12.va.us/509905169119/site/default.asp?509Nav=|924|&NodeID=924

I was given the $4M number by staff--you can verify it though staff, either county or school. It should be an easy FOIA, if you want a document to post.

Dean, there is a Lambert balance sheet (which lists water and sewer as "available" on Lenah). here is the link:

http://cmsweb1.loudoun.k12.va.us/loudoun/lib/loudoun/Announcement%20Images/Lambert%20Analysis.pdf

Barbara

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Appreciate the info. I'm reviewing it. I'd like to think that this whole discussion is like a cheese grate in that all of the info has to be shaken thru. In the meantime, can somebody throw some cold water on Glenn...I think he's burning for an instant verdict.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

I'm still reading it, but they advocate an additional cost to Lambert of $16 MIL for delay, all the while never pointing to anything large enough to delay the location that long...nor really addressing how they arrive at $16 MIL.
That, alone is a huge FUDGE FACTOR that deserves scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Dean, I won't throw water on Glenn.

We rarely talk, except through the blogs.

It may be safe to say we consider each other worthy adversaries, given how often we disagree.

He's been here longer than either one of us, so a bucket of water may not be the answer.

Fudge factor? I expected you to come back with the fact that there have (only) been three quarters of a mil engineering expenses to date--on the schools side.

I am reminded of a comment by a reporter from the OLD Loudoun Easterner. When Geddie senior and Beth Miller were running it.

Periodically a tax group revives a lawsuit on the building of the Harrison Street through alternative means after the voters said no.

"How much money are you willing to spend to save a dime?"

It's a good question on both sides:

If quadrillions of dimes are to be saved, then an expenditure of millions is worth it.

However, there is a process for changing process.

It's called "open government", and until we have a better alternative, there it is.

I've seen you post on the millions the Woodgrove HS is costing the government.

This is shaping up to be one better, because given that the School Board is its own corporate and legal entity, with its own rights and duties, which has a voter approved amount to spend which has not been exceeded, to build a two-year overdue school which is also voter approved, attempting to circumvent the process does nothing but set up a lawsuit.

Which costs money.

Who benefits?

That has always been the question, whether you edit my comments or not.

Barbara

Anonymous said...

Dean, I forget to add please FOIA all county costs to date (going back twenty or thirty years or more) on the lawsuits between TFI and the county.

Mr. Knop is not afraid to go to court to protect his interests, and several acres of his land are required to access the Lambert site.

I talked to TFI a week ago, and they have yet to be approached on this.

You'd think that would be at least a minor courtesy, if they need his land, yes?

Time is money.

Barbara

Dan said...

I have trouble believing that $4 million has been spent on Lenah.

They spent something like $1.7 mil on Grubb, which included infrastructure costs not needed here: perc tests, sewage treatment system design, drilling 4 or 5 very large wells, and months of well testing.

A large chunk of traffic study costs could be reused for a nearby site. For Grubb, they used two-year old traffic counts from HS-3.

They were very secretive about the costs for Grubb. Interesting how this 4 mil. number is being floated.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Barbara, I don't edit thoughts on this school, or the logic used to discuss this school. We ARE NOT, however, going to use VLF as a weapon in this discussion. To do so is to attack Mr. Miller's reputation by implying that he would alter his opinion for $100.
That will not be tolerated here.

Now, as long as the discussion remains FIRMLY on any aspect of this school decision, I'm all ears.
I went by to pick up the staff reports and accompanying paperwork for the site as well as Lenah this morning. I'm not buying the whole School Boards report, but only the portions that are concrete, and have been laid out.
When they claim $16 MIL, I want to see an accounting/itemization of that money in black and white. The School Board has a dog in this hunt...and Mr. Miller, to a lesser degree, probably has a small bias, so I'll get the info from someone who doesn't.
If we stick to facts, we should agree that the Lenah site, from my early perusal...has VDOT problems that may circumvent your optimism.
The Lambert site has what appears to be a cemetary in one corner, lots in the middle, and some environmental issues that the ACOE need to address. Those also need to be addressed.
As you so aptly put it: "If quadrillions of dimes are to be saved, then an expenditure of millions is worth it."
I couldn't agree more.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

So, upon reentering my Secret Bulletproof Monk Cave with documentation in hand...
It appears Barbara flew off the handle over at LIL while I was gone.
There are a number of things that now concern me:
Sam Adamo was actually hears to say that the LCSB hired Urban Ltd. to provide the numbers in the right column after Bowman provided the left column because they wanted higher numbers.
That's nice.

Their analysis ignores money recouped by selling 25 acres to the company wanting to build a sports complex.But the sports complex is BAAADDD, right?

Their analysis ignores money saved if an elementary school site can be added to the plan. (LCPS says it can't be added... Bowman's consultant said yes - until Hatrick learned about it).

Their analysis ignores money saved by the shorter commute for the majority of students in the attendance area.With gas prices being what they are for the expected future, and we the people purchasing that fuel for the buses...well, do I really need to spell it out?

As I understand it, the owner of the center lot does not object to the school use.I spoke with a pretty good source on this. I covered the whole County today in a mere six hours. Not bad, huh?

And I'm holding all these documents here....and you know what I'm STILL missing? That damned $16 MIL itemization.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand that broad....I really can't

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Now, now...there is no need for name calling. Barbara finds purpose in her research, and there is nothing to be belittled about in that. I prefer to go fact to fact, and remain civil. I'll await more from her, but it had better be solid...not some attack on previous deeds that didn't exactly turn out for her.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Finally chased down an elusive creature that I noticed hadn't been addressed at the LCSB site.
It's the Wetlands and Waters of the US Delineation Report (conducted to standards of the US "Corps of Engineers" Wetland Delineation Manual)that included the 190 acre Lambert Property as a part of a larger 756 acre Braddock South report and is dated Feb.9, 2005 . It was revisited on Sept. 29, 2006 to re-evaluate and confirm that the conditions had not changed since the original field work.

This is a bump for Lambert on the time table.

Anonymous said...

Dean, don't get too excited yet.

All you may have found was that the Corps had confirmed, when the Lambert rezoning was filed in 2006, that previously confirmed and recorded wetlands on the site (which you apparently also found the confirmation for from a previous rezoning attempt) were still there and had not changed.

As I told you when I gave you the ZMAP number, the Lambert rezoning paperwork would tell you the constraints on the site, and how the uses proposed in that ZMAP ONLY would affect them or be affected by them.

When the clock starts over for a new SPEX to put a much greater impact on the property (two, no three schools and a sportsplex and a swimming facility), there will no doubt be a re-reconfirmation that they're there.

Then the whole process of review for the specific uses will be determined to see if impact can be mitigated (see the Clean Water Act).

Barbara

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Barbara, I do get excited, because a consulting ecologist is examining those documents today. And nothing has changed on the site.
I have also been able to consult with a couple of people regarding undue influence in this matter and will be adding an new postover the next day or so. It is 9-11 today, and I'm going to be extremely busy.

Dan said...

Here's a bit more on the magical $16 million number:

2. Delaying construction two years would cost us a minimum $16 million. This is based on an additional cost of more than $4 million per school (MS-5 and HS-7) scheduled to go on the Lenah property. All the due diligence has been done on the Lenah property, which means we could build as soon as we receive approval from the Board of Supervisors.

http://pubs.loudounschools.org/LCPSDocs/Lenah/Lenah_Lambert_Post_Questions.pdf

I'm not sure how it goes from $8 million to $16 million. Maybe Sam meant to say 'per year', or, maybe like in the Rouse deal, LCPS just adds a nice hefty premium to avoid nasty stuff like negotiations.

I'm also not sure why the high school would be delayed two years.

... and I'm still looking for Barbara's $4 million.

curious said...

Can schools be constructed anywhere on the newly acquired 257-acre Hanson park?

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Hatrick has big fat handprints at every turn on this. But I've recently learned that someone else is also seeking to move pieces to their satisfaction. I do not approve of either interference. I may post on the merits of two individual discussions ...one on each school's issues. I do not believe a head-to-head approach is the best way to solve the issue with LCSB playing them off each other.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

In reference to the Park aquisition, curious....a park is a park. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Dean, this park is a park because it started with a family bequest for that purpose, didn't it?

The Lambert thing is shaping up to be another Fields Farm: the Board is going to buy it for all of us, with no engineering or other studies on how three schools and a sportsplex will work on it (if ALL at all), and then the fun begins.

What if NO schools work on it, will the whole thing turn into a private real estate deal then?

The commission on $14M is one hell of a lot better than on the $2M private sale solicited at the hearing!

Barbara

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Feild's Farm was a massive mistake by Purcellville.Not the County. That's been my opinion all along, and it appears to be holding up.

http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1071424.pdf

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Commission on $14 MIL?? How about we throw ALL the eggs into that basket and talk about a rezoning of her personal land that garnered another $8 MIL over the $$ it was worth under the previous zoning?

And yes, the park land could only be used as a Park, per the family that sold it to the County. They've resisted developer's for years and would not sell to them. Their parents were big on parks, so to honor their memory, they named this one after them. The acreage that was aquired for that small amount is astounding, and when one considers that it wasn't even County money, but Dominion's money put to good use.... it gat's even better.

Lee J. said...

Real estate commissions many of the time are negotiated down on high priced sales and even on small sales. Especially when you have hard times. Full commissions are paid when people don't know how negotiate which unlikely on high priced real estate, or when they don't want to rock the boat in like when you a legal version you slap mike back this time we will see what we can do later. Of course not said like that.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Lee, I caught the first part of that. Now, I'm not gonna become the spelling or grammer police...but you do have to use complete sentences that I can follow.

Anonymous said...

1. So what is the latest on Lenah vs Lambert? Is the SB still digging in their heels or are they (some at least) sincerely evaluating its merits?
2. What evidence do you refer to when you say "Hatrick's big fat handprints".
3. What is your thinking about the Lenah contract clause where the SB is obligated to promote the Lenah site. Is that a standard clause in all their contracts? If so, perhaps no foul. If it is uniquely Lenah I wonder. I can see how that benefits the seller, but how is that good for taxpayers?