They say it will provide some property tax relief for residents.
Frederick, Md. (KM) – An amount of $6.55-million dollars in reductions is being proposed for Frederick County’s fiscal year 2023 budget which totals $792-million. The proposals in the form of 13 budget amendments come from Councilmen Steve McKay and Phil Dacey. Most of these cuts are small reductions in the number new staff. There’s also a $1.4-million reduction in funding for the Board of Education.
McKay says the reason for these cuts are being proposed is to provide some sort of property tax relief for citizens. “We ought to be able a way to bring down our property tax rate if not to the constant yield, and least just being it down,” he says.
The current property tax rate is $1.05 per $100 of assessed value. The cosntant yiedl is $.10244 per $100 of assessed value.
The County Council held a hearing last Tuesday on whether to reduce the property tax to the constant yield rate. Most of those who testified supported keeping it at the current rate of $1.05 per $100 of assessed value.
McKay says even if the proposed cut to the School System goes through, funding would still be above maintenance of effort. “Right now, with that amendment, the Board of Ed’s funding would be $32-million over MOE,” he said. “Last year, $21-million over MOE was a record setting amount.”
Under maintenance of effort, the School System would receive about the same level of funding this year as it did last year.
He says it would not negatively affect the School System. “I know that there will be a lot of people who will complain that we hate teachers and the sky is falling and all these things. It’s a very, very modest cut. But it helps get toward this goal of trying to reduce the property tax rate,” he says.
McKay says the County can afford these budget cuts. “Over the last four years, the County’s run budget surpluses totaling over $200-million,” he says. “And we need to find ways to get that back, at least some of it back to the taxpayers,” McKay says.
The Council is expected to consider these 13 amendments during a meeting on Tuesday. If they approve the amendments, there will be another budget hearing on Tuesday, May 17th, and a vote on the budget the following Tuesday. If not, then the budget could be approved on Tuesday, May 17th.
“I don’t’ have high hopes, but we need to have this discussion each and every year. And it may be an uncomfortable discussion, but we need to have it because we need to be talking about these things,” says McKay.
By Kevin McManus