Citizens Testify About Property Tax Rate

They’re asking that it not be reduced to the constant yield.

A small number of citizens testified Tuesday night before the Frederick County Council in favor of keeping the current property tax rate at $1.06 per $100 of assessed value. That rate is contained in the County Executive’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

Edward Burrell of Point of Rocks said keeping the rate as it is would correct some of the problems of the past, such as flat funding of the school system. “Having a quality public education system is very critical to all of our well being,” he said. “The budget and tax levy that you have before you is attempting to solve some of those issues.”

Even though there’s no proposal by the County Executive to raise the current rate, the Council needs to hold a hearing on the tax rate because keeping the current levy of $1.06 per $100 of assessed value is, in effect, a tax increase. According to county staff, the current tax rate is actually more than the constant yield, which is $1.0362 per $100 of assessed value. The constant yield rate would bring in the same amount of revenue is fiscal year 2017 that the county currently collects in 2016.

Mike Bunitsky, a Board of Education candidate, and retired educator who remembers the school system operating under maintenance of effort funding, called for keeping the current rate. “I ask again as a taxpayer do not go back to the constant yield, and that, as such, according to the law, increase my taxes,” he said.

Mike Long from Emmitsburg, says the current rate is needed to support the County Executive’s budget, which provides additional funding for schools and public safety. “To providing the necessary revenues for that budget, I support maintaining the current property tax rate,” he said.

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the property tax rate on Tuesday, May 17th.