Frederick County Council Approves Amendments To Proposed Property Tax Credit Ordinances

The legislation would enhance these credits for senior citizens and military veterans.

Frederick, Md (KM) Two bills which would enhance property tax credits for Frederick County’s senior citizens and retired military will once again undergo public hearings. The Council on Tuesday approved amendments to these measures which would reduce the amount of credits being provided.

These bills were proposed by Councilman Steve McKay. “In this instance, rather than trying reduce everybody’s property tax bills, I’m trying to focus in on the people who need it the most, and that’s our senior citizens,”: he said.

But Councilwoman Renee Knapp said enacting targeted property tax credits means everyone else has to make up the revenue the county collects. “The county aiding anybody–seniors, as a hedge against inflation–that revenue will have to be made up by other  taxpayers in the county,” she said.

One of the pieces of legislation would grant the credit on a home on taxes from the first $500,000 for the senior citizens supplement to the state’s homeowners property tax credit. . Councilwoman MC Keegan-Ayer introduced an amendments reducing the valuation to $350,000. She said the average price of a home in Frederick County doesn’t come close to that $500,000 amount. “Given the fact that the average home price is about $410,000. That’s average sales price in Frederick County. Taking it up to $500,000 takes it way above the average sales price in Frederick County,” she said.

But Councilman McKay said many of the current property tax credits were enacted five years ago, ago, and houses have gone up since then. “And what happens then is that the value of the tax credit declines relative to the home’s value as the home value increases,”: he says.

Another bill that was amended  would keep the combined gross income of $80,000 instead of increasing it to $100,000  for those who are 65 and older, and have lived in their homes for at least 40 years.  For elderly individuals and uniformed service members, the property tax credits of 20 percent of the county property tax, and credit will be assessed at the lesser of $350,000, or another amount.

No date has been scheduled for a  hearing on these revised ordinances.

In other action, the Council also approved an ordinance which eliminates the five-year time period  for  when a surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who has not remarried can apply for a property tax credit program.

By Kevin McManus