Majority Support Keeping Frederick County Property Tax Rate As Is

The Council held a hearing Tuesday on whether to lower it to the constant yield rate.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – A small number of people testified Tuesday night before the Frederick Council on whether to lower the property tax rate to the constant yield.

A majority spoke in favor, such as Kimberly Herndon of Mount Airy, whose a School System employee. “The county has maintained funding due to the constant rate and this reflects in our School System,”: she said. “Taking care of our teachers and staff is an investment in the future of our children, and their education should be a top priority in Frederick County.”

Also speaking in support was Chris House, who said this additional revenue is needed for a growing county. “As our community grows, greater responsibility will fall on the Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Rescue Services and our Emergency Management Systems to keep our families and our properties safe,” she said. “Young families moving into our county will be looking for quality schools, libraries and recreational services.”

The County’s current property tax rate is $1.06 per $100 of assessed value, and the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget will keep that rate the same. The County Budget Office says  Frederick County’s constant yield rate, as determined by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, is $1.0244 per $100 of assessed value. If this rate was adopted, the county could lose $13.1-million in revenue.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Brett Simmons was the only person who spoke in favor of reducing the property tax rate to the constant yield. He noted that the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget is h higher than what was forecast last year. “In other words, the county is proposing an FY ‘2023 budget of $792-million. which only one year ago was projected  to be only $741-million budget. Thus the county is expecting $51-million more in FY 2023 then they expected one year ago.”

Even though the county could lose $13.1-million in revenue if it adopted the constant yield rate for Fiscal Year 2023, Simmons says it could make up that loss through the fund balance from fiscal year 2022. “Under this plan, the FY 2023 proposed budget will remain at $792-million. The only change to the county’s budgetary plan will be that the first $13.1-million of FY ’22 fund balance will be appropriated to the FY 2023 budget,” he said.

The Council is expected to vote on the property tax rate for fiscal year 2023 at a later date.

APFO Amendments

In other action, several proposed amendments to the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance were formally introduced. Councilmen Steve McKay and Kai Hagen are co-sponsoring the legislation which would strengthen traffic mitigation standards, increase requirements for “limited impact developments,” revise  aspects of the Planning Commission’s approval authorities,  and change  approval time periods and remove and/or revise out of date or unclear language.

A public hearing on these amendments is expected to be held on May 24th.

The County’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance times residential growth with the expansion of services such as schools and roads.

By Kevin McManus