Frederick County Council To Hold Hearing On Changes To Property Taxi Credit Programs

It would cover senior citizens, uniformed service personnel and disabled veterans.

Councilman Steve McKay

Frederick, Md (KM) The public will get the chance next week to comment on three bills which make some changes to local property tax credit programs.

The legislation is sponsored by Councilman Steve McKay who says the changes would cover tax credit programs for certain members of the community. . “What we’re trying to do is broaden the eligibility criteria for three of our property tax credit programs for senior citizens, uniformed service members and disabled veterans,” he says.

McKay says it would also increase the property tax credits themselves.

The first bill would amend the Senior Citizens Local Supplement to the Homeowner’s Property Tax credit by raising the maximum gross household income to $100,000; and provide a 30-percent tax credit  for households with gross incomes greater than $50,000 but no more than $100,000. It would also provide a 50-percent credit for households with gross income of $50,000 or less. And it would raise the home valuation limit from $300,000 to $500,000.

Under the second bill for the elderly and uniformed service members property tax credit, the property tax credit goes up from 20-percent to 30-percent. It also raises the household gross income limit from $80,000 to $100,000 for seniors 65 and older who have been in their homes for at least 40 years. In addition, it removes the five-year maximum duration of the tax credit.

And the third bill would remove the five-year maximum duration for surviving spouses of disabled veterans.

McKay says he’s heard from senior citizens who find it too costly to continue living in Frederick County. “I always remember an elderly couple I sat across in one of our meeting rooms who had tears in her eyes talking about how challenging it’s been on a fixed income with their property taxes going up and up and up,”: he said. “And so I think anything we can do to help that portion of our community I think we must.”

He also says these revisions to the property tax credit programs will have little impact on the amount of revenue the county collects, noting that these changes will only cost “a few million dollars.” “And yes, that’s real money,” McKay responded. “But when you’ve got an operating budget closing in on $700-million, sacrificing a few million here as a way to address what I view as a priority I think is something worth doing.”

The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on these three bills on Tuesday, February 28th beginning at 7:00 PM at Winchester Hall. Citizens can also call in their comments.

By Kevin McManus