Umstattd Takes Over Finance Committee – Loudoun Now

Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) has taken over as the new chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors Finance, Government Operation and Economic Development Committee, taking the reins of a panel on which she has not previously served.

She replaces Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), who has led the committee in some form since before Umstattd joined the county board. In his first term, he chaired the Economic Development Committee. Toward the end of that term, he also became the chairman of the then-separate finance committee, replacing then-Supervisor Ralph M. Buona who took over duties as the Board of Supervisors’ vice chairman when Supervisor Shawn Williams resigned his seat.

At the beginning of a new term in 2016, the two committees were consolidated into the current finance committee, which Letourneau chaired.

“Clearly we’re entering into a more challenging budget time, so it was not my choice to leave as committee chair, but I obviously recognize that the board majority can choose whoever it wishes to be chair,” Letourneau said.

He also said that the bipartisan leadership on the board—Letourneau has been a Republican committee chairman on a Democrat-majority board this term—spoke well of the board and its approach to governing.

“That was something that certainly didn’t have to happen when the majority changed on the board in 2019, so I appreciate that my colleagues allowed me to continue as finance chair for these last two years,” Letourneau said.

During his term as finance chairman, Letourneau was also among the first people involved in bringing major economic development deals to Loudoun such as Segra Field.

Umstattd takes over the committee as it prepares for Fiscal Year 2023 budget deliberations, and in a turbulent time for county revenues. The committee’s work has been complicated both by the impacts of COVID-19 on county tax revenues and by an over-reliance on data center tax revenues. County finance officers have warned relying on taxes from a particular business is a less stable long-term source of revenue than real estate taxes, which make up the bulk of most localities’ revenues and the majority of Loudoun’s.

“Kristen is a great colleague and a friend, and so I’m sure the county will continue to be in good hands, and I’ll still be a member of the committee and actively involved,” Letourneau said.

Umstattd has not returned a phone message requesting comment.

The change came with a slight shuffle in committee membership. The board’s two standing committees each have five members. With Umstattd joining the finance committee, she will swap committees with Supervisor Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin), who will move from the finance committee to the Transportation and Land Use Committee. Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) will continue to chair that committee.

Supervisors Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) was once again elected to serve as the Board of Supervisors vice chairman. All of those positions and memberships were approved by unanimous vote Jan. 4. Her first meeting of the finance committee was Jan. 11.