The vote was 4-3.
Frederick, Md (KM). The property tax rate will remain the same in Frederick County for fiscal year 2021. In a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, the County Council approved a rate of $1.06 per $100 of assessed value. It’s been at that rate for a number of years.
Councilman Steve McKay wanted to set the rate at the constant yield which is $1.0344 per $100 of assessed value. He said the county has been taking in higher than projected revenues over the past few years, and lowering the rate will not “starve” the county. “Property tax revenues would still increase because assessed values are increasing and we add new homes to the inventory which also increases,” he says. “So what I’m really talking about when I advocate for a constant yield this year is reducing the rate of growth a little.”
But Councilman Kai Hagen said these reserves may needed in the future to help the county get through the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic “We have those reserves. We have that fund balance. We have resources to be able to maintain county government. We do not know how long this is going to last,” he said.
The constant yield would bring in the same amount of revenue for fiscal year 2021 that the county collects in the current fiscal year. Supporters of keeping the rate at the current level say it’s not a tax increase, but property owners end up paying more because their property values have gone up, and those who want the constant yield say this is a tax increase.
Councilman Phil Dacey says lowering the property tax rate to the constant yield would give a break to residents who are suffering financially due to the coronavirus which has shut down the economy, and led to massive unemployment. “This is the time This is the emergency We’re literally under an emergency right now. And we’re talking about taking more money out of people’s households to give money to the government. It’s wrong;” he says.
But Council President MC Keegan-Ayer reminded Dacey what government is all about. “All the 911 call takers. All of the fire and rescue folks who go out and respond to your call when you place an emergency call. It’s all of the sheriff’s deputies and the correctional officers in our jails. It’s all of the TransIT drivers,” she said.
Voting against keeping the property tax rate as it is were Councilmen McKay, Dacey and Michael Blue.
In a separate motion, the Council approved the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget which totals over $655-million The vote was 6-1 with Councilman Dacey opposed
By Kevin McManus .