It will be a little higher than the current rate.
A resolution setting the general property tax rate for Frederick County for fiscal year 2014 was adopted Thursday by the Commissioners. The rate will be $1.064 per $100 of assessed value. It's a little higher than the current rate of $0.936 per $100 of assessed value, but, as the Commissioners explained, it's due to the folding of the fire and services into the county's general fund.
"The notion is out there, and it's being said 'oh, is this a no-tax board, no new taxes, no new taxes, and that we raised taxes.' We did not. And I want to be very clear about that," says Commissioner Kirby Delauter. He says the new rate is what county citizens have been paying all along, if you included the fire tax.
The new rate combines the current property tax rate with the urban fire tax rate of $.128, according to the background materials from the County Budget Office.
"We are addressing this and saying we are going to include this in our budget, which is, frankly, the fiscally responsible way to do it," says Commissioners' Vice President Paul Smith. "Having addressed it the way we have actually is helping our financial rating, is helping us get a better interest on the bonds that we do get. It's the responsible way to do that."
The Board of Education has asked for $15-million over maintenance of effort in fiscal year 2014. In his comments, Smith says that probably won't be approved, but he would like to provide something additional to the Board of Ed in the future. "As the economy turns around, I will look more closely at what we can do for the Board of Education," he said. "The education service that is given in our public schools in Frederick is superior, one of the best in the state, has been the best, though the salary scale is actually and has been less than other states. We do look at it closely and want to stay competitive," he says.
The vote on the new tax rate was 4-1 with Commissioner David Gray in opposition. "I think general fund allocations of monies for fire and rescue is insufficient with this arrangement, and I see nothing wrong with continuing with the fire tax," he said.
The new tax rate takes affect July 1st.
In other action, the Commissioners approved an ordinance setting the Electric Lighting Tax Rates for Braddock Heights and New Addition. They will go up from 10-cents per $100 of assessed value in Braddock Heights to 18-cents per $100. In New Addition, they will increase from 10-cents to 13-cents per $100 of assessed value.