3's Community

3's Community

Three people show to community meeting on proposed transit area tax.

— A new service district that would tax all property near metrorail stations in Reston and Herndon will be voted on by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors next week and property owners had a lean showing to discuss the proposal.

Three people attended a community meeting about the new tax with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation in the cafeteria of Coates Elementary School in Herndon on Tuesday, March 21.

One reason for the poor attendance could be that property owners have not been directly notified of the proposed tax.

“I had thought that there was an effort that was being put forward to mail property owners and I don’t think that that is actually the case,” Ray Johnson of the FCDOT, said during the meeting. “I know that we are putting out notifications through our typical channels through social media, through the web, through the board’s website, through public meetings, and that’s really the reason why we decided to have service district-centric meetings ahead of the public hearing. We’re trying to reach out as much as we can.”

However, these are all communications that individuals must opt-in to receive.

Rebecca Lane of Reston heard about the tax and the community meeting through word of mouth.

“I was living in Reston, but I was not aware of this for some reason,” Lane said during the meeting. “Somehow it just got off my radar, so when I got the information, I got a lot of misinformation.”

While those in the community are still learning about the tax, the Board of Supervisors already voted to approve the $2.2 billion Reston Transportation Funding Plan and its associated road fund on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The plan’s service district, which the board has not voted on yet, would only affect those who own property within the Reston Transit Station Areas. The county designated these areas near the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority metrorail stations that will serve Reston and Herndon on the Silver Line: the Reston Town Center, Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon stations.

The proposed service district rate for homeowners is 2.1 cents per $100 of assessed value of the property.

The FCDOT will hold another community meeting about the service district at Hughes Middle School in Reston on Wednesday, March 29, after deadline for this newspaper. The FCDOT will also be giving a presentation to the Reston Town Center Association on April 3, according to Tom Biesiadny, FCDOT director.

The board will have a public hearing on Tuesday, April 4, at 2 p.m. to discuss and vote on the plan’s service district. If it is approved, the board will also vote on whether to establish an advisory board to advise the board on transportation project priorities and annual adjustments to the tax rate for the service district.