Fairfax County

The following were among actions taken by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 7 meeting. For more information, call 246-3187.

RTE. 28 TAX DISTRICT -- The board unanimously approved a special tax district around Rte. 28 on the Fairfax-Loudoun county border, where landowners would be taxed to help pay for up to $392 million of road improvements in the area.

According to official estimates, about 80 percent of planned improvements to Rte. 28 would be paid for by area landowners, who would be charged a surtax of up to 20 cents per $100 of assessed value under the plan.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, which also must approve the plan, deferred action on it Monday mainly because of concerns about a grammatical error in the text, according to Loudoun officials.

Officials also still have questions about funding for the project. The area is now largely undeveloped, so the surtax will not generate significant revenues until development gets under way in the future. Therefore, bond issues will be necessary to pay for the improvements. The surtax would be used to pay off the debt later.

The Virginia Supreme Court last month ruled that the state constitution forbids one type of bond issue that had been proposed for raising money for Rte. 28. That issue would have allowed the state to raise money by pledging gasoline taxes and other revenue to pay off principal and interest. But a governor's commission Monday suggested another type -- revenue bonds, which take money from a specific source, such as tolls, to pay off a specific and clearly related debt.

In a related matter, the board approved a proposal by Chairman John Herrity to direct county staff to work with Tysons Corner area landowners to plan another tax district in that area. But the board deferred a similar motion to negotiate a similar tax district in Merrifield.

The two proposals became caught in disputes between Herrity, a Republican who lost his reelection bid and will not be returning to the next board session in January, and the woman who defeated him.

Chairman-elect Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) and Supervisor Katherine Hanley (D-Providence) voted to defer the Tyson's measure until January after County Executive J. Hamilton Lambert said:

"I don't want to spend staff time on {Tysons} or Merrifield. . . until we're certain we have a Rte. 28 tax district. I think we'd better get to first base before we go to second."

But the six other supervisors present voted not to defer the matter after Supervisor Thomas Davis (R-Mason) pointed out that it was similar to one the board passed at an earlier meeting.

"The chairman {Herrity} has worked hard on this, and he deserves to make the motion," he said.

Still, the board voted 5 to 3 to defer Herrity's Merrifield proposal at the behest of Hanley, who represents that area.

LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM -- The board approved a list of bills and actions it wants action on by the county's representatives in the state legislature and Congress in the following year.

Allowing the county to make its own financial disclosure ordinances more stringent than the state mandates was among the priorities. Another one at the top of the list was allowing the county to require such fire suppression systems as sprinklers in buildings higher than 50 feet.

Other items on the list include: Asking the state to allow local housing authorities to buy and operate nursing homes. Allowing the county to phase in development according to an area's level of water, sewers, schools, roads and other public facilities.