Two Bills To Revise Local Senior Property Tax Credit Program Introduced

Both are ‘slightly different’ from each other.


Frederick, Md (KM). Two Frederick County Councilmen have introduced two “slightly different” bills to revised the local senior property tax program.

During Tuesday’s weekly meeting, Councilman Jerry Donald presented legislation which would allow seniors 65 and older who own their own homes to quality for a bigger credit on their property taxes. “If you make $30,000 or less a year–and, again, these are most likely to be living only on Social Security, the more elderly of the elderly–these folks instead of a 20% credit would get a 40% credit,” he says.

Donald’s bill also says if senior citizens have a combined gross household income greater than $30,000, but not more than $70,000, the amount of the senior citizens local supplement to the homeowners’ property tax credit is equal to 20% of the net Frederick County real estate property tax after adjustment.

Donald says his bill’s goal is “to assist people whose houses have  gone up significantly in value. Some of these people have lived here for many, many, many years. They are on fixed incomes—not always impoverished–but lower income people whose property tax have become a bigger, bigger burden on them>”

Councilman Kirby Delauter also introduced a bill which he says would make more senior citizens eligible for the tax credit. It would raise the gross household income eligibility requirement to $85,000. Taxpayers’ net worth eligibility requirement would increase from $200,000 to $250,000. He acknowledges this could cause some concern with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, which administers this program. “It has triggers in place to capture people who come and say that their net work is less than $200,000, the state has triggers that can actually maybe audit that and check that,” he said. “If you raise that to 250,{000}, they’re saying there might be additional staff needed.”

That brought this question from Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer. “If the increase in net worth is a labor-intensive change, since the net worth would have to verify it manually, the SDAT has indicated that  the cost to the county would be so prohibitive, the county would have to on the administration of the tax credit,”: she said.

“I’m not planning on hiring anybody to take it on,” Delauter responded. “If we can do at 200,000, they can do it at 250 {000}”

Councilman Tony Chmelik suggested Councilmen Donald and Delauter combine their ideas and come up with one bill. “I see good things in both bills. I didn’t know if my colleagues would be interested in combining the two bills as to create one. I don’t see that they’re that far apart on some of their issues,” he said.


By Kevin McManus