Frederick County Officials Hear Budget Requests Wednesday Night

One came from a citizen who asked for a property tax reduction.

County Executive Jessica Fitzwater

Frederick, Md (KM) It was a rather unusual request during Wednesday night’s budget hearing. While most residents called for additional funding in Frederick County’s fiscal year 2024 budget for education, the arts and other programs, Monrovia resident Brent Summons asked that the property tax rate be lowered to the constant yield in fiscal year 2024 only. . “There’s already unused surplus from prior years that can fund this reduction in property tax revenues,”: he said.

He said the County has accumulated $337 million in surpluses over the past six years. “Last year, fiscal year 2023, the reduction would have been $13 million,” Summons said. “The county can afford to do that. But more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”

The current property tax rate is $1.06 per $100 of assessed value. The constant yield rate would ensure that the county would take in the same amount of revenue in fiscal year 2024 as it collected in the current fiscal year.

“If the county can acknowledge and get out there that a reduction in the property tax revenue does not affect the budget,” Summons says “These revenues are coming out of the surplus from prior years. It does not affect funding any of the proposed budget that you’ll come up with.”

County Executive Jessica Fitzwater said property and income tax revenues are projected to be above average in fiscal year 2024, but declines are anticipated in recordation tax and building fee revenues.

Also during the hearing, some residents called for full funding for the request from the Division of Senior Services. It includes four new positions, and renovations to the Senior Center on Taney Avenue. “There is presently a population of 60,000 people over the age of 60 in our county with continued increases in needs as well as the demand for services, this budget request is vital,”: said Thea Ruff who chairs the Senior Services Advisory Board.

She said the Senior Center is sorely in need of renovation. “This structure was built in 1983 and no has plumbing in half of the building. The standard of the Department of Public Works states that this 40-year old building is in significant need of upgrades for sustainability,” Ruff says. “There is a greatest concern about the HVAC system, flooring, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and lighting.”

County Executive Fitzwater says she will hold budget hearings in each of the five districts in January, and hold a second budget hearing in March. She says she will have a proposed fiscal year 2024 budget by April 15th.

The County Council will hold hearing on the budget, and could make some adjustments. A spending plan must be adopted by May 31st. Fiscal year 2024 begins on July 1st, 2023.

By Kevin McManus