Towns' Tax Differential Remains Unchanged

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Towns' Tax Differential Remains Unchanged

Prince Frederick, MD - 3/13/2013

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By Marty Madden

Left, Chesapeake Beach Mayor Bruce Wahl, right, North Beach Mayor Mark Frazer
Left, Chesapeake Beach Mayor Bruce Wahl, right, North Beach Mayor Mark Frazer

On Tuesday, March 12 the Calvert County Commissioners conducted their annual meeting with the mayors of Chesapeake Beach and North Beach regarding the percentage of property value the residents of the municipalities will be taxed by the county in the next fiscal year (FY 2014). The residents receive a blend of services from the municipal and county governments.

According to Department of Finance and Budget Accounting Supervisor Sharon Strand, the towns’ property owners pay the county a rate of $.556 per $100 of assessed value. Since the levy on county property owners living in Calvert’s unincorporated areas is $.892 per $100 of assessed value, the differential for Chesapeake Beach and North Beach for the current fiscal year is $.336. Department staff recommended the commissioners leave the differential at that rate in FY 2014.

“The town and county government have worked very effectively in making this (tax rate) beneficial for the towns,” Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R] told Chesapeake Beach Mayor Bruce A. Wahl and North Beach Mayor Mark Frazer. “Congratulations on what you’ve done with the towns.”

“The towns are a vital asset to the county,” Commissioners’ President Pat Nutter [R] added.

“I think the housing market has hit bottom and is starting to come back,” said Commissioner Susan Shaw [R], who added she was pleased the tax rate would stay the same.

Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R] did not agree that leaving the tax rates where they currently are was a great idea. “It’s the citizens’ economy,” he said. “When the economy is bad there should be an effort to reduce rates.”

Clark countered that “the board could have looked into going ‘constant yield.’” That action would have raised the rate to a level that would have made property tax revenues comparable to the previous fiscal year. Noting that property assessments all over Calvert County are down significantly, Clark declared, “by not doing that [constant yield] it’s like a tax cut.”

“We need to be thinking about lowering rates,” said Slaughenhoupt. “There are signs of tremendous harm. People who suffer the most are the citizens paying taxes.”

The board voted 4-to-1, with Slaughenhoupt opposed, to leave the municipalities’ tax differential at $.336 for FY 2014.

Both mayors also briefly updated the commissioners on a concern and an upcoming event.

Wahl reported Chesapeake Beach leaders are attempting to address “walkability issues.” Of particular concern is the lack of a pedestrian path on a stretch of Old Bayside Road, which is a county road. “It’s not pedestrian friendly,” said Wahl.

Frazer announced that on June 22 North Beach will be hosting “dragon boat races” on the Chesapeake Bay as a way to raise funds for End Hunger in Calvert. “We expect it to be enormously successful,” said Frazer.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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