Today I sent the following letter and statement to the Montgomery County Council:
Dear President Floreen and Members of the Council:
Attached please find a Statement of position on the options for financing infrastructure needed to support the White Flint Sector Plan. Friends of White Flint uses an open process to develop its public policy positions, and this Statement was prepared in an open public meeting, and offered for comment on our blog, the FLOG. More than 800 people viewed the draft, and we received dozens of comments, which have been incorporated in the Statement. The recommendations were adopted unanimously by the FoWF Board, which is equally divided between residents, business representatives and property owners/developers.
In the Statement we discuss White Flint’s promise, both for a sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented community, and to provide an estimated $7.3 billion in net tax surplus to the County. We also discuss the agreements, forged over five years of planning, with an unprecedented level of public participation, on both the elements of the Plan and the appropriate financing options to fund the infrastructure. And we discuss the shortcomings of the County Executive’s proposal for financing, including the rejection of the renovation of Rockville Pike and the inclusion of inappropriate projects in the White Flint cost calculations.
Finally, we offer four basic recommendations, explained in more detail in the Statement:
1) There must be a Development District with a dedicated special tax in the agreed-upon amount and type.
2) To fund the “gap” in the early years of the Plan, we support a dedicated source of reliable and sustainable funding, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF), to support bonding at the lowest cost.
3) The Council should work with all elements of the community to resolve the financing issues.
4) The Council should keep in mind the future of a sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented White Flint.
We also point out that we appreciate the Council’s leadership in crafting this Plan, and we trust the Council to make the right decisions on financing.
We look forward to seeing you at the public hearings on Tuesday night.
Thank you for your attention and for your work on the White Flint Sector Plan.
Friends of White Flint
The Statement is here.