The checks would go out to homeowners in Frederick County.
A proposal to give residential property owners in Frederick County a $100 tax rebate was approved Thursday morning by the Commissioners. The vote was 3-1-1, with Commissioner David Gray opposed, and Commissioners' Vice President Paul Smith abstaining.
Testimony taken prior to the vote was in opposition to the rebates. Ann Thomas Palmer criticized the Commissioners for taking this action, after board members severely cut services, and the county is currently facing a large debt. "But we're going to send everybody a check for $100. And it's going to have a signature from someone whose possibly running for a political office," she said.
Commissioners' President Blaine Young has formed an exploratory committee to raise money for a possible run for governor. Regarding the rebate checks, Young said he's only holding to the promises he made in the 2012 campaign. "This isn't grandstanding," he said. "It's called keeping your word."
Other citizens criticized the Commissioners for cutting funding to non-profits in order to provide for the refund checks. "I do agree wholeheartedly with the comments that the most vulnerable in the county have been denied the things that they need to provide people who don't necessarily need a hundred dollars a hundred dollars," said Nancy Furington. Jacqueline Messner of Frederick urged citizens to donate their rebate checks to charity. "I invite all county taxpayers to join in the campaign and let's give it back. Let's put our money where are value is back into the non-profits that were cut," she said. "After all, isn't this the true value of money," she comment, to the applause of the audience in the third floor meeting room at Winchester Hall.
Commissioner Young says the letter that will accompany the tax rebate checks will contain information where residents can identify non-profits whose funding was eliminated in the county's budget.
The board has set aside $6.7-million in the fiscal year 2013 budget to pay for the rebates. It's expected to cost $49,185 to send out the checks in the mail.
Commissioner Young said he had wanted to lower the property tax rate instead of sending out the rebate checks, but the county's finance office advised against it. He says he will push for a lower tax rate next year.