County Executive Infrastructure Financing Plan – White Flint

county-executive-white-flint-financing-proposal.pdf

Attached is a pdf of the County Executive’s proposal for infrastructure financing in White Flint.  This proposal is the culmination of months of work to understand the costs and potential revenue sources for infrastructure in White Flint.  The County Council debated the proposal at last Tuesday’s work session within the PHED and MFP committee’s.  The proposal will be discussed further at the upcoming full Council session on Tuesday November 23rd.  Final vote on the financing plan will take place on Tuesday November 30th. 

Evan Goldman (doing my best to fill the very big shose of Barnaby Zall)

White Flint Partnership Supports County Executive Financing Plan for White FLint

The White Flint Partnership endorses the financing plan as proposed by the County Executive at the joint PHED/MFP Work-session on White Flint financing November 16, 2010.  We believe that the proposal is a fair and equitable negotiated solution to the $100 million funding gap.  The solution proposed by the County Executive shifts the burden for approximately 50% of the funding gap onto the private sector by extending the life of the special taxing district. The portion of the gap to be funded by the County is largely second phase projects which will not be constructed for at least seven to ten years.  In addition, the second Metro entrance could be eligible for state or federal funding to further reduce the County’s burden.  Below is a summary of some of the benefits of the current financing proposal as well as some greater detail about the true costs of infrastructure in White Flint.    

KEY BENEFITS OF COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S FINANCING PROPOSAL: 

We believe the funding mechanism proposed is a creative solution for managing the gap for the following reasons:  

·         Enables infrastructure to occur in White Flint without competing with other CIP projects or counting against the County’s debt capacity because there are dedicated funds for repayment. 

·         The mechanism continues the precedent that development pays for needed infrastructure within a Sector Plan by having a private sector funding source for all district infrastructure items. 

·         Forward funding of $37 million of infrastructure will expedite the western work around and free up funds for other major projects in White Flint including the Rockville Pike transformation.

·         By allowing the special taxing district to repay the $37 million when excess funds are available, it does not compete with other major projects in White Flint that the special tax must fund.  Alternatively, repayment of interest, even starting in year 10, would delay the construction of all other White Flint infrastructure projects including Rockville Pike.

·         The proposal allows the County to take advantage of $37 million in reimbursement from the private sector for a major road construction project which is largely on the County’s conference center property.

  • Finally, the property owners have agreed to relinquish their right to seek a credit for on-site capacity generating infrastructure which would ordinarily have been credited against Impact Tax Payments or PAMR. 

County Executive’s financing plan includes raising property taxes for existing condo owners in White Flint

Earlier this week at a public meeting regarding how to finance the public infrastructure improvements needed to fulfill the vision of the New White Flint Community, a financing plan was presented by some County officials that would tax EXISTING CONDOMINIUM OWNERS in the White Flint Sector Area.We, the property owners and members of the White Flint Partnership, want to make clear that any such plan to tax existing condominium owners is not acceptable to us, individually or collectively.We, the White Flint Partnership, have consistently stated our willingness to assume most of these public infrastructure costs directly and/or through a tax as long as the County provides a sense of certainty that the improvements will happen on a timely basis and that a portion of the tax revenues raised from commercial property owners here in White Flint will remain in White Flint to cover these costs. A tax on existing condominium owners is not necessary or advisable in our opinion.  We look forward to working with the County and our friends and neighbors in White Flint to develop a financing plan that is sufficient, effective and equitable to us all. 

If you would like to be kept up to date on this issue, please visit www.whiteflintpartnreship.com and register to recieve updates, or continue to read the FLOG. 

Best regards,

The White Flint Partnership

[posted by Evan Goldman]

Tyson’s Corner requires $15 Billion in infrastructure – White Flint only $500 Million

Below is a link to an article in today’s Post about Tyson’s.  The planners project a need for $15 Billion (yes that is Billion) in infrastructure over the life of the plan to fund infrastructure.  As most of you know White Flint requires only about $500 Million plus some operating costs of approximately $400 million according to the County Executive and the plan creates $7 Billion in NET new tax revenue for the County.  This is just one of many reasons why White Flint makes so much cents! 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/29/AR2009102904426.html

Evan Goldman

How will the new White Flint pay for the costs to accommodate new students?

The Sector Plan proposes 12,020 new residential units including those that have already been approved.  Assuming 25% of these units will be low-rise 4 story multifamily buildings and the remaining 75% will be high-rise multifamily buildings, the following is the calculation of school impact fees.  $10,431 in impact fees per low-rise multifamily unit multiplied by 25% of the 12,020 units equals $31.3 million in impact fees.  $4,422 in impact fees per high-rise multifamily unit multiplied by 75% of the 12,020 units equals $39.9 million in impact fees.  This results in $71.2 million in total impact fees over the life of the Sector Plan.    

Montgomery County Public Schools projects 1,111 new students from White Flint.  This would result in $64,100 per new student to expand existing facilities or build new schools.   The new Garrett Park Elementary School costs $25 million to build and will serve 662 students upon completion.  This equates to $37,764 per student in school construction costs.  Using this cost multiplied by the 1,111 new students, White Flint will need to fund approximately $41.9 million in new construction or renovation costs to house the students generated by the Sector Plan.  This leaves a surplus of $29.3 million to be used to expand existing schools or build new schools to accommodate the school age population growth generated by the existing single family neighborhoods surrounding White Flint.   

Said another way, the impact fees from White Flint would build almost three new elementary schools while producing demand for less than two schools.   In addition to $71.2 million in impact fees, White Flint is expected to produce roughly $1.5 billion in increased property tax revenue.  Only 10% of that $1.5 billion will be used to fund local infrastructure which leaves $1.35 billion for other Montgomery County programs.  50% of the County budget typically goes towards schools, so the White Flint Sector Plan could produce an additional $675 million to fund school costs County wide including your teachers’ salaries! This also means that if the $71.2 million is not enough to cover new school costs, the County will have a pool of money to tap into that wouldn’t be there without new development. 

Evan Goldman

White Flint Metro Station Event

You may have seen the White Flint Partnership at the White Flint Metro Station this morning.  We were handing out flyers and talking to interested riders about the on-going sector plan process.  We hope many of these mass transit users will become engaged in the Friends of White Flint in the coming weeks!  Thank you to all of those that helped organize the event, it was a great success.

Evan Goldman

Additional Comments about Article on “Movement to Reduce Dependence on Cars” which was posted on 5/12

This article highlights the type of visionary thinking that is happening around the Nation and the World.   Our lives and built environment encourage car use.  My wife and I have lived full and part time in New York, Boston and Philly and we didn’t own a car in any of those three cities.  It was only when we moved to DC 6 years ago that we gave in.  We live in the heart of the city near Dupont Circle but because our jobs are spread throughout the region we needed at least one car.  For 5 years before joining Federal Realty, I drove to work.  Even if I had a meeting that was metro accessible, I didn’t even stop to think about public transit because my car had become an extension of me.  It had all of my stuff in it, it felt comfortable, I liked my music, etc… 

 In July when I started my job with Federal Realty I assumed we would get a second car.  For a month I drove to work, each day trying to beat the time it took me the previous day. I tried 6 different routes and drove as fast as possible to see if I could shave my commute by a minute or two down to 35 minutes.  Looking back, it wasn’t safe, it wasn’t comfortable, and it made my commute filled with pressure.  The unpredictability of the home commute made things even worse.  It ranged from 35 minutes with the wind at my back to an hour if the beltway was backed up. 

 When my wife went back to work from maternity leave, given the economy, I decided to give Metro a try.  The trip is a dependable 45 minutes round trip door to door no matter what.  For the first week or two I would sprint to the metro from my home to get it down to 41 or 42 minutes, but in the end, over time, I have adjusted my expectations and now take pleasure in the 20 minutes of reading that I get done in each direction every day!!!  I have read more books in the past 10 months than I had in the previous 2 years!  While it was a difficult adjustment at first, now I find myself purposefully not taking the car even when it is available.  It sits in the garage on days that neither my wife nor I need it.  I also now use metro for shorter trips during the day.  For the first few months, there was always a negotiation because if I had a meeting outside the office, and forgot to alert my wife far enough in advance, one of us would have to find an alternate method to get to work.  Now, I have become used to travelling to meetings in Bethesda, Silver Sprint, White Flint, and Rockville by mass transit.  It truly is a nice, enjoyable, hassle free, and pressure free way to travel.  I have had my bad days here and there and some delays, but nothing compared to the unpredictability of driving! 

 So, while this is just my story, I have learned quite a bit.  Mass transit usage is social engineering.  Breaking the car habit is really hard at first, but once someone makes the effort, there are some rewards to getting out of the old tin can!  Now, when I do take the car (3 to 4 times per month) it just doesn’t have the same allure as it once did…. and I am ok with that!

 Evan

White Flint Partnership Speaker Series

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to create the speaker series this morning.  Chris Zimmerman and Ian Lockwood both shared some of the best examples of planning around the nation, and they were incredibly engaging speakers.  I was impressed by the way transportation planning and urban planning are coordinated seemlessly in each of these great places!   Thank you to Friends of White Flint and the Chamber for their sponsorship and for getting so many people to attend.  Thank you to Francine Waters and Alison Mosle for their strategic oversite and management of the event.  We were really pleased by the number of local residents from at least 9 different civic associations.  Montgomery Cable Television will be producing their work shortly and we will have it available on the White Flint Partnership website at www.whiteflintpartnership.com.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to post a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

Evan

March 30th Planning Board Worksession

Many of the residents that I spoke with after the work session last night were encouraged that the Planning Board was taking a strong position on the creation of walkable neighborhoods and a new community around White Flint Metro. 

I do want to comment on two residents that did not have the opportunity to present their views last night because the board ran out of time.  One resident was flying to Italy first thing in the morning but stayed until 10pm to deliver a presentation in favor of the New White Flint.  Unfortunately he never had the chance to speak.  Second, a resident from Randolph Hills whose child broke a leg the day before stayed until the bitter end of the hearing only to be told that he would not be able to present.  Both of these citizens work full time and have been unable to participate until last nights hearing because the work sessions were during the day.  Both were disappointed that they did not have the chance to voice the thoughts of their communities publicly.  We have been told that the next worksession will be in the evening. 

I hope that these two are willing to return to voice their position.  It is important for the Planning Board to hear from these and the numerous other supportive residents that want to see a New White Flint sooner rather than later!   

 Evan