Loudoun residents will soon have their say in Metro tax districts
Those keeping tabs on the Dulles rail service tax districts in Ashburn, which can be largely credited with keeping Metro’s Silver Line project on track, will have their first official chance to address Loudoun supervisors regarding the tax at an Oct. 17 public hearing.
In order to start collecting the tax district revenue intended to help fund Silver Line construction, the board will have to adhere to a relatively strict time line.
First on the schedule are community outreach and information sessions leading up to the Oct. 17 hearing. Following input from the public, staff will draw up the ordinance, advertise to the public and a vote from supervisors will come in November or December.
Three tax districts are scheduled to be put in place by the new year, a deal the board agreed on before the July 3 vote that moved the project forward with its current funding partners, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the state and Fairfax County.
One overall district spanning a nearly two-mile radius will be initiated with the intent to pay for the upfront capital costs. While a new board could in the future alter such an agreement, the current supervisors plan to lift the overall district tax once construction costs are paid off. The two smaller districts, located immediately around the Route 606 and Route 772 stations, will remain in place to help pay for ongoing costs.
“The Chamber of Commerce and major land stakeholders support these tax districts understanding they are essential to the Metrorail financing plan,” Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) said.
Initially, the overall rail service district is expected to have a tax rate of 20 cents per $100 of assessed value. All three districts are capped at that rate.
Supervisors have also directed County Administrator Tim Hemstreet to prepare the necessary documents to apply for federal funding through TIFIA, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
A loose time line discussed during the board’s Sept. 5 meeting lists Sept. 18 as the last possible business meeting for approval of materials to advertise the public hearing. Additional dates include: Sept. 19 staff will start the process for advertising the public hearing; Sept. 24 through Oct. 12 staff, at the board’s direction, holds public outreach sessions; Oct. 17, the earliest possible date of public hearing based on state code; and Nov. 1 the last possible day to hold a public hearing to have the tax implemented by Jan. 1.
Hemstreet said he felt confident the necessary measures could be achieved by the deadlines.
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