Council Discusses Senior Citizen Property Tax Credit Bill

It’s open to military retirees.


Frederick, Md. (KM). A bill providing tax relief for senior citizens who own their own homes came before the Frederick County Council on Tuesday night. The measure is sponsored by Councilman Billy Shreve. “The elderly individuals and retired military tax credits that the State of Maryland approved should be approved in Frederick County. So that’s all I’m doing is enacting state legislation,” he said.

The bill provides a 20% tax property tax credit for citizens 65 and older, along with retired military, reserves or National Guard,  who have owned their homes for 40 or more years. The credit would be in effect for five years.

Chief Administrative Officer Ray Barnes, speaking for the County Executive, says the administration is favor of the goals, but not the method. “The current senior tax credit program that we have available, available to all homeowners 65 years or older, and meets certain income and next worth guideline, is not limited to five years as the proposed bill establishes,” he says. Barnes says the property tax credit for seniors is indefinite.

He also says the county’s program is not limited to retired military personnel. “The bill that’s under consideration tonight {Tues} requires documentation of one or the other in order to be eligible for the program,” he says. “Ownership of the property for 40 or more years may limit participation in the program.”

Retired Army officer Doug Reichert spoke in favor of the bill. He said he is familiar with the county’s program for those earning less than $70,000 annually. “However, this property tax was not indexed for inflation, and did not consider this area’s high and increasing cost of living,” he said.

“A possible alternative to this bill might be to amend Frederick County’s senior tax credit to exempt uniformed service retirees from the income limit, or make the property tax credit permanent,” Reichart continued.

He noted that a lot of retired military who like living in Maryland have moved to other states where their retirement,income is not taxed, or the tax rate is low.

The Council took no action on this bill on Tuesday.


By Kevin McManus