Not that you didn’t know this already, but data centers are kind of a big deal to Loudoun County’s economy. The jurisdiction’s new Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for fiscal year 2021 just drives that home yet again.
Let’s begin with tax revenue: Loudoun collected $1.53 billion in property taxes in fiscal 2021, an all-time high and an increase of $117 million over the prior year. Real property taxes accounted for $921.4 million of that total and personal property — largely a combination of the computer equipment found in data centers and the traditional vehicle tax — accounted for $563.2 million, or 36% of property tax collections.
For comparison, personal property in Fairfax County accounted for less than 13% of that jurisdiction’s overall property tax collections last fiscal year.
Loudoun tax revenues exceeded budgeted amounts in fiscal 2021 by $11 million. The increase, per the ACFR, is largely due to the growth in data centers “and the resulting buildout of those facilities, which increases computer equipment and furniture and fixtures.”
Of Loudoun’s top 10 principal property taxpayers, seven are data center owners. The powers of the past — the likes of America Online/Time Warner, Virginia Electric & Power Co., Verizon Business, Dulles Town Center and Brambleton — are nowhere to be found on the list. In fact, of the current top 10 most valuable taxable properties, only two, the Dulles Greenway and Leesburg Premium Outlets, even existed a decade ago. The land holdings of Smith, Verline W Et Als Trustees, better known as Moorefield Station near the Ashburn Metro, is the only other property on the list that's not a data center at $246.2 million, and it hasn’t even been developed yet.
The list of top data center owners, in order of assessed value: Digital Loudoun 3 LLC ($719.6 million), CyrusOne LLC ($490.6 million), Digital Loudoun Parkway Center North LLC ($416.4 million), Equinix RP II LLC ($386.5 million), Redwood ERC Ashburn LLC ($328.1 million), Amazon Data Services ($293.2 million) and RagingWire Data Centers Inc. ($216.7 million).
The ACFR is a deep dive that offers a wealth of information about a jurisdiction’s financial health and demographics. We’ve already looked at Arlington County, Fairfax County and the city of Alexandria. Here’s a look at some additional stats from Loudoun, whose report was produced by the Department of Finance and Budget and audited by Cherry Bekaert LLP.
The estimated market value of taxable property in Loudoun topped $115 billion in 2021, a near doubling of the total only a decade ago. The 2021 tax rate on that property, $0.98 per $100 of assessed value, has been repeatedly lowered, from a high of $1.235 per $100 of assessed value in 2012, due to the influx of data center tax dollars.
There’s some change in Loudoun’s top employer list. The top of the rundown remains the same, led by Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun County government and Verizon Business. Then Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, jumps to No. 3 and the Department of Homeland Security to No. 4, both leapfrogging United Airlines, which has dropped to No. 6. Raytheon and Inova Health System stay at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, while Walmart and the U.S. Postal Service round out the top 10, replacing Amazon.com Inc. and Swissport USA Inc.
Loudoun’s 2021 estimated population of 427,642 is 36.9% higher than in 2010 — and 644% higher than in 1980. Its total personal income, at $34.5 billion, has jumped by $11 billion over the last decade, while its per capita personal annual income is up more than $12,000 since 2012.
It was a fairly slow year for homebuilders, with only 1,680 residential building permits issued through fiscal 2021, the fewest in a decade. The high point in the last 10 years was 4,302 permits issued in fiscal 2013.