Frederick County Council To Hold Hearings On Two Property Tax Credit Bills For Seniors

The Council added amendments to the  bills on Tuesday.

Frederick, Md (KM) A public hearing will be held once again on two property tax credit bills for senior citizens being  considered by the Frederick County Council. Both pieces of legislation were amended Tuesday night by the Council.

One measure  would revise the property tax credit to 30 percent and 50 percent for two tiers of eligible income, and increase the credit on property based on the taxes resulting from the $350,000 of assessed value of the property. An amendment would increase that to $400,000.

The second bill would expand the income eligibility for the property tax credit to 30 percent and remove the five-year limitation for the elderly and uniformed property tax credit. An amendment to that measure says the tax credit should be  calculated based on lesser of $400,000.

Both amendments were introduced by Councilman Mason Carter. “I want to help as many as possible as much as possible. And this helps us take one step closer to doing that,” he said.

The two amended pieces of legislation are sponsored by Councilman Steve McKay. “And this is just helping people a little bit more,” he said. “To give them a little bit more ability to stay in their homes for people who need it most.”

Councilwoman Renee Knapp voted against both amendments. She said any lost revenue will need to be made up. “I understand the intent of the legislation, and I appreciate both bills,” she said. “When we go fund senior services, I hope everybody is also willing to fight for that last dollar when the budget comes up for senior services.”

Regarding the home valuation, Councilwoman MC Keegan-Ayer had concerns about the first $400,000 which she said is similar to the average sale price of a home in Frederick County. “But the assessed value itself–granted it’s only $50,000—but they’re still going to take the tax credit on the first $350,000 value,” she said. Keegan-Ayer voted against these two amendments.

And Councilman Jerry Donald, who also voted against the amendments, said property taxes are a tax on wealth, not income. “The thing about a wealth tax is it’s fair to everybody. That’s why I prefer not to break this down by profession. or anything else. If we want to cut a tax, we can cut a tax,”: he said. “We can have that argument in a few weeks and it’s a legitimate argument as to what we should be taxing ourselves. What do we need to pay for. We got school’s coming up that have a 200 percent capacity if we don’t do something about it.”

The voted on both amendments was Councilmen Brad Young, Kavonte Duckett, Steve McKay and Mason Carter in favor of the amendments; and Councilmembers Jerry Donald, MC Keegan-Ayer and Renee Knapp in opposition.

The Council is expected to hold hearings on these two amended bills next Tuesday.

By Kevin McManus