By Taylor Holland
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday backed off its plans to raise the property taxes of residents and developers in Tysons -- at least temporarily -- after residents spoke out against the plan for more than two hours.
The tax hike, expected to increase property taxes in Tysons by 7 to 9 cents, was supposed to come as part of the board's $3.1 billion vision of transforming the area into a new urban downtown.
But instead, the board decided to put off a vote to establish the tax district after what Supervisor John Foust, D-Dranesville, called "some of our most eloquent testimony" since the plan was first adopted in 2010. . .
. . . "Do you really care about us?" said Michael Bogasky, president of the Rotonda Condominium Unit Owners Association. "We feel like we're being punished and isolated from the rest of the county."
County officials repeatedly touted the tax increase as a critical part of their vision for Tysons, but many of the speakers told the board it would only prohibit small businesses from thriving. Some even proposed the board scrap the entire project.
"The impact is nothing but negative: noise, nuisance and increased crime" said resident Molly Peacock. "Property owners are being punished."
The issue of "fairness" particularly resonated with board members, who vowed to look into making adjustments to everything from redrawing boundaries to not taxing residents. . . .Click here for the rest of the article.
This is a very important and complex issue that is especially pertinent to Reston. Reston is quite likely to follow Tysons in terms of a tax financing model for the many infrastructure improvements that will be needed in the Metro station areas.
The issue is who should pay for the billions in infrastructure improvements that will be needed to make Tysons a transit-oriented development area. At the risk of over-simplifying literally years of discussions among the various parties at Tysons, the County has settled on a formula that those properties in Tysons (principally commercial developers, but also several thousand residents) will pay about two-thirds of the infrastructure development cost. County-wide and "other" (read state and federal) revenues will finance the balance.
In general, this will add about eight percent to the property taxes of residents there and, as the above indicates, they believe that such a tax burden is unfair. In fact, while all the commercial developers have the opportunity to pass on their added costs to their clients and customers, Tysons' residents have no such option.
If the same formula were applied in Reston, the residents of the Reston Town Center area would pay a comparable addition to their tax. There are no residents in the Wiehle and Herndon-Monroe station areas covered in the current Reston Task Force effort. They were largely incorporated in the old Reston Center for Industry & Government between Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills drives that banned residential development.