Leggett proposes White Flint tax district
Berliner questions shortfall in development's financing
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is recommending that a special taxing district be established to help pay for publicly-funded roads and buildings that are part of the White Flint development plans.
The tax of 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value would not apply to existing homes, said Diane Schwartz Jones, assistant chief administrative officer for the county.
Leggett's plan, which was revealed to the council late Monday, addresses who will pay for $1.1 billion in projected costs included in White Flint's growth plans for the next 40 years. The projects include schools, emergency service stations, roads and other infrastructure improvements.
The special tax is expected to raise $208 million for such projects. The new White Flint is expected to generate about $6.9 billion in tax revenue over the next 40 years.
However, Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Potomac said during a council meeting Tuesday that Leggett's plan does not address a funding shortfall of more than $200 million for infrastructure projects.
Berliner, a supporter of White Flint, says the county will need a plan to pay for those costs.
"The county needs to step up," Berliner said.
He said questionable funding puts many of the plan's infrastructure projects in limbo.
The White Flint Sector Plan, which the County Council approved in March, calls for a combination of financing mechanisms, such as a development district an area designated with a temporary special tax on commercial and residential properties added fees for certain developers, and county funding.
Jones said the funding shortfall Berliner questioned was based on estimates that might not be real when the second phase of the project begins in five years or so.
"It would be like estimating how much it would cost to renovate your house 40 years from now," she said.
The county has committed about $378 million in capital funding to White Flint, in addition to some operating funds, Jones said.
The council will begin debating Leggett's financing plan for White Flint next week.
The current property tax rate in the White Flint Development Tax District is $1.027 per $100 of assessed property value.
If Leggett's plan is approved for the tax year that begins on July 1, the rate of the White Flint Development Tax District special tax would be about 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value.