The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday that it was not quite ready to act on a new tax district for Tysons Corner.
After taking public comments on the proposal, many of them from people opposed to the new tax district, the board voted to defer its decision until January.
In October, the board approved a conceptual funding plan for about $3 billion in transportation projects in the Tysons area during the next 40 years. The special tax district, known as a service district, would be one part of the overall funding package. The county views it as important in that it is a predictable funding source that could be used to back bonds.
During the hearing, some Tysons-area residents pointed out what they said were inaccuracies in the proposed tax district map and others argued that the communities on the edge of Tysons should not be taxed because they won’t reap the benefits of the Tysons redevelopment.
The representatives of various communities included in the proposed service district said they feel like their communities are being punished, and that the tax is unfair. Unlike the commercial property owners near the Metro stations, they said, they won’t see a big pay day from the changes in Tysons.
“I think it’s speculative that our older townhomes are going to see a benefit,” said David Dunlap, vice president of the Courts of Tysons Homeowners Association.
Most business leaders who spoke at the hearing support the tax district as the best solution to accumulate needed road dollars to support Tysons Corner redevelopment.
“If not this, then what?” asked Tom Fleury of Cityline Partners, the development company whose massive Arbor Row project in Tysons Corner was recently approved by the Board of Supervisors. It took 18 months to concoct the Tysons transportation funding plan that includes the service district, he said, and it is unlikely the board will find a better solution.
However, a couple of smaller business owners who own office condos in Tysons Corner said that the many layers of additional taxes in Tysons Corner are starting to take a toll.
Philip Barbalace, who owns a photo studio in Centennial Plaza, said the service district would be the sixth additional tax lumped into his real estate tax bill.
“You are killing the small business people and entrepreneurs who hope to thrive here,” he told the board. Several of his neighboring businesses are trying to move out and sell their spaces, he said.
The board is now slated to vote on establishing the tax district at its Jan. 8 meeting but will not set an initial tax rate for the service district, if it is approved, until adopting a budget in May.
In addition to taking the next month to review the issues that speakers raised, Supervisor Linda Smyth (D-Providence) suggested that board members also take the opportunity to discuss with the county’s legislative delegation the need for additional financing tools. The board meets with the legislative delegation next week.