Public Comment Taken On Bills To Revise Frederick County’s Property Tax Credit Programs

The changes would affect mostly the elderly and military veterans.

Frederick, Md (KM) Testimony was taken Tuesday night by the Frederick County Council on three bills to revise the local property tax credit programs for the senior citizens and military veterans.

One piece of legislation would change the property tax credit for disabled military veterans by removing the five-year maximum for surviving spouses of deceased veterans to participate in the program. Will Plumley, a military veteran, testified in favor. He noted that spouses of military personnel make a lot of sacrifices when their partner serving in the armed forces is deployed away from home for a long period of time. “They’re the one holding the home front, taking care of the children, holding things together,” he said. “And then when their spouse returns, they got to reintegrate their spouse.”

Plumley was the only person who testified on Tuesday before the Council.

Another bill would make changes to the local component of the state’s Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit program. It would increase the gross household income to participate to $100,000, and provide property tax credits for those with gross incomes greater than $50,000, but not more than $100,000. There would also be a 50-percent tax credit for households with gross incomes of $50,000 or less, and the home valuation limits would increase form $300,000 to $500,000.

Councilman Jerry Donald brought up a concern about the half-million dollar maximum for house valuations. “i can probably live with $359,000 which is the median number that I hear for the county. But $500,000, plus all that other stuff, that’s a bit rich for my blood,” he said.

During testimony, Plumley said local and state government policies regarding property tax credits¬† can help determine where veterans want to live. “Things such as this tax credit–which I did get to enjoy last year myself. So thank you very much–do play into the decision process where I retire when it comes time to retire a second time,” he said. Plumley works at Fort Detrick.

A third property tax credit program covers seniors 65 and older who have been in their homes for at least 40 years. It also includes retired uniformed and military retirees 65 and older and their surviving spouses, along with uniformed service members of any age with a service-connected disability and their surviving spouses. There is no income limitation for these individuals to participate,  But in all three cases, the 20-percent tax credit would be available for five years, and be calculated for the first $500,000 of assessed home value.;

The Council is expected to vote on these bills at a later date.

By Kevin McManus