The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors deferred Tuesday a decision on whether to hike taxes on Tysons Corner residents and developers to fund wide-scale transportation improvements.
In October, supervisors endorsed plans for a special service tax district that would require landowners and developers to help pay for billions of dollars of transportation projects meant to help Tysons thrive as the county’s new urban downtown area. With a tax hike of 7 to 9 cents per $100 of assessed value, the service district is expected to generate approximately $250 million over the next 40 years.
Tuesday’s decision to defer was made after a two-hour public hearing during which about 20 speakers testified before the board – the majority of them not happy with the idea of their taxes going up.
Michael Bogasky, president of the Rotunda Condominium Association, said the tax district would end up hurting longtime Tysons residents and people who move into the newly developed area in the future.
“Do you really care about us?” he asked the Board of Supervisors. “Do you care about the future of residents that you are trying to attract to Tysons? This service district creates a negative impact on residents new and old.”
Bogasky also criticized the Board for its endorsement of the tax plan last month. In particular, he said it was “shocking” that a motion from Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) to try to exempt residential properties from the tax had died on the floor without being seconded.
“This service district segregates us,” he said, “and therefore, we become an acceptable casualty.”
Molly Peacock of Morgan at McLean Condominiums said she failed to see any of the benefits from the tax district and subsequent transportation projects.
“The impact is nothing but negative … noise, nuisance, increased crime,” she said. “Basically, it appears that the property owners are being punished. We’re having to pay for a negative impact.”
But Tom Fleury of Cityline Partners, whose 20-acre Arbor Row development in McLean was approved last month, said he supported the plan, though it might not be ideal for everyone.
“This may not be perfect,” Fleury said. “But if not this, then what?”
Chairman Sharon Bulova made a motion to defer the vote on the tax district’s creation to the Board’s Jan. 8 meeting.
“I think it would benefit the Board of Supervisors to have time to digest and to think about what we heard from you before taking action,” Bulova told stakeholders and speakers in the auditorium at government center.
Supervisors approved the motion unanimously, but Penny Gross (D-Mason) said she wished the Board had been able to vote on the matter before the New Year.
“I’m disappointed that we’re not able to take action today,” she said. “Many of our partners are ready to go … We must come to consensus and closure on this very critical path for our future.”
The Board of Supervisors will vote on the formation of the tax district Jan. 8.