The four candidates running for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors answered six questions by email for Patch. We will feature one question each day, with the unedited answers by each of the candidates.
Question #2: According to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (Table 7 in the Tysons Comprehensive Plan), there are about $1.6 billion in unfunded road and transportation costs in the development of Tysons. Who will be paying these unfunded costs? Explain.
It is important to remember that the redevelopment of Tysons will evolve over the next 20 to 40 years. The transportation elements of the Comprehensive Plan have been the subject of several Board discussions and workshops. Much information can be found at the County’s website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/. Proposals for funding transportation improvements include: Contributions/construction as part of the development process (i.e. a grid of streets); a special tax district or districts for landowners /commercial properties in Tysons; funding from the County’s C&I (Commercial and Industrial) property tax; federal and/or state transportation funding and potentially future bond referenda.
The Planning Commission, responsible for making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on our Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is involving stakeholders in a discussion of how costs associated with redevelopment of Tysons should be allocated. The process is very inclusive and transparent. Meetings are scheduled as follows: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning/tysons_docs/tcschedulefall2011.pdf
The vast majority of these unfunded costs will be paid by the middle class residents and small business owners because these groups contribute the largest amount of tax revenue to the County and they will be receiving the least amount of benefit from the expenditure.
Bottom line: new and existing residents and employers will fund the costs over the next few decades. Basically, we are financing a billion dollar investment over 30 years so we can improve our quality of life and increase county revenues by over a billion dollars annually. Good idea. Don’t you think?
Thousands of new residents and employers will join our community and share the costs. I support the plan put forward by county staff. My strategy is to smartly quicken the development to minimize the tax burden by providing developers the lowest competitive costs.
Our nation and our community are engaged in a global economic contest. Tysons represents the greatest opportunity for economic growth and is a smart investment. The people of McLean have expressed a concern that the development costs will fall on their shoulders. I am listening and will take responsible action.
In fact, my comprehensive government plan lowers real estate taxes from $1.07 to a target of 93 cents while increasing our investment in our highest priorities by $273 million annually. We will use a portion of this new revenue to cover the financing of new general bond obligations.
Whereas the incumbent has been silent, we will advocate for fair treatment of Fairfax County taxpayers and students. My plan directly benefits 135 of 136 localities throughout Virginia. Our strategy maximizes our alliance for change. Local government leaders throughout Virginia will ally with us in pursuing their own best interests and lobby their General Assembly delegations. Our plan will quicken the engines of economic growth throughout Virginia.
Michael "Spike" Williams
This is one of the most heinous examples of failure in leadership by our current Chairman. The proposal that is expected from the staff is that Fairfax County taxpayers will bear the burden for 58% of this cost while developers with the most to gain will only be responsible for 42%. This ratio is not in line with the ratio that exists in the Rt. 28 corridor where residents are responsible for 25% leaving 75% to the developers. You ask what has changed? The predominant agenda has changed, the majority controlling Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors has deprioritized transportation infrastructure contributions from developers and in its place set a requirement that all residential development in Tysons include 20% of the units as low income housing, they call them Affordable Dwelling Units or ADUs. These properties will have their values artificially held below market value and limit the potential for equity increase. This 20% set-a-side cuts into the margins for the developers limiting their ability to contribute to transportation infrastructure and increases the burden on your tax dollars by capping the tax revenue potential for 20% of future residences in Tysons. We need to take a long hard look at our priorities here in Fairfax County, with a projected budget shortfall in 2013, the focus needs to be on providing the core functions of government first, not on special interest handouts. We do not suffer from a lack of revenue; we suffer from a spending problem.
Following are links to the other questions and responses.