Tysons residential tax was never publicly discussed

As a member of the Tysons Land Use Task Force involved in writing the Comprehensive Plan, and speaking on behalf of existing neighborhoods, I am compelled to express my total opposition to the Planning Commission's recommendation to fund 50 percent of Tysons transportation costs from a "service district tax" on existing residential property owners.

This notion was never even suggested by county officials nor introduced for discussion during more than four years of public hearings and Task Force deliberations. So I am amazed that only two members of the Board of Supervisors have opposed this proposal on behalf of their constituents. The rest of the supervisors should be aware that while it is Tysons today, their districts could be bled of tax dollars for the profits of developers in the future.

Existing Tysons residents will continue to be victims of disruption, construction pollution and the deterioration of our residential atmosphere for many years to come. Taxing us to pay for developer benefits just adds insult to injury.

We already have and will continue to contribute to necessary infrastructure improvements and county services. But the costs should be properly allocated to those entities that will benefit most from newly created neighborhoods and business locations.

The Board of Supervisors also needs to be more creative and assertive in working with the General Assembly to get legislative authority to exempt residences from a special district tax as recommended by the Planning Commission.

Amy L. Tozzi


Leaf pickup popular with Montgomery residents

Re: "Montgomery County taxpayers pay $600,000 in overtime for leaf pickup," Nov. 30

ThisWashington Examinerarticle concerning Montgomery County's leaf vacuum collection program got the facts wrong. Every fall, about 118,000 households in the oldest and most densely populated area of the county receive vacuum collection of their leaves. Residents pay a fee on their property tax bill for the service.

Picking up the leaves is a big job, taking six to eight weeks rather than the 14 to 18 days cited by TheExaminer. Staff work six days a week and more than nine hours a day to rapidly collect the leaves between the time they fall from the trees and before snow sets in. Snow and ice significantly interfere with leaf collection and increases the cost.

Ask most residents what they think about leaf vacuum collection and the overwhelming response will be that they greatly appreciate this popular program. In fact, demand continues to be high from neighborhoods that want to opt into the program, as more than 30,000 households have done over the last 10 years.

Esther Bowring

Public information officer,

Montgomery County

Birth of Christ is real reason for the season

Re: " 'Merry Christmas' beats 'Happy Holidays,' " Washington Secrets, Nov. 28

Christians founded America, and brought with them the tradition of acknowledging Jesus' birthday.The expressions of Christmas -- hope, joy, love -- have their basis in the early Christians' belief that the Messiah had come and brought those things to planet Earth.

But these days, it seems that everyone wants the benefits of the Christmas season while diminishing the honor belonging to the One who brought these benefits.No retail stores object to the largely Christmas-driven sales spikes; most employees don't refuse the paid Dec. 25 holiday.

So go ahead and celebrate whatever you choose, but know that Christ is the reason for the season and because this is so, "Merry Christmas" should remain the preferred greeting.

Angela McIntosh

Frederick, Md.