For the fourth year in a row, Carroll County has had a rise in assessed property values, which might lead to an increase in how much those in the southern and southwestern portions of the county pay in property taxes.
But that tax increase isn’t as much as county staff was expecting and might adversely affect next year’s budget.
“From a revenue point of view, it was good news in that we have continued growth,” Ted Zaleski, director of Carroll County’s Management and Budget Department, said Friday. “It was bad news because we had assumed 10 percent in our projections.”
The residential property values in Carroll County’s Area 1 increased by 7.5 percent since the last assessment in 2016, and its commercial properties increased by 12.1 percent, according to a Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation report released Friday. Combined, the region has experienced an average 8 percent increase in assessed property values.
Each county in Maryland is broken into thirds for property assessment purposes. This year, each county's Area 1 was reassessed — which in Carroll encompasses the Freedom Area, Sykesville, Woodbine, Mount Airy, Winfield and New Windsor. The central and northwestern portion of the county were reassessed last year, and the northern and eastern portion will be reassessed in 2020.
Zaleski said staff will be evaluating the county’s full six-year revenue picture over the next month, but he could make a few immediate determinations.
“Quick assessment of the impact on [Fiscal Year 2020] is a reduction from our projection of $1.6 million,” Zaleski told the Times. “This will be somewhat offset by greater than assumed new construction. We don't have enough information to quantify that yet.”
Assistant Supervisor of Assessments Karen Tanzell said the news is better for county government than property owners though, as their property taxes will increase accordingly.
“The county will be glad, it’s more revenue for them,” she said, “but the property owners aren't always as excited.”
Last year, Carroll’s Area 3 was reassessed with a 6.3 percent increase in residential property values, and about a 9.7 percent increase in commercial property values, over the last assessment for 2015.
And the year before that, Area 2 — which includes the Finksburg, Hampstead, Manchester and Union Mills areas — was reassessed and saw an increase of about 4.9 percent in the residential properties and about 9.4 percent in commercial properties.
Although this is a continuation of increases for the county, it is the first time since 2008 that property values have increased statewide, according to an SDAT release on Dec. 28. Across the state, property values have increased 9.1 percent on average.
Neighboring Baltimore County’s property values saw a 10.9 percent combined increase; Cecil County’s values increased by 9.5 percent; Frederick County’s values increased by 10 percent; and Harford County’s property values increased by 5.8 percent.
The 2019 assessments for Area 1 properties were based on an evaluation of 64,807 sales that occurred within the area over the last three years, according to SDAT.
“If the reassessment resulted in a property value being adjusted, any increase in value will be phased-in equally over the next three years, while any decrease in value will be fully implemented in the 2019 tax year,” the release states.
“As part of our ongoing tax credit awareness campaign, our department is also dedicating an entire page in each reassessment notice to provide information about the Homeowners’ and Homestead Tax Credits, which save Marylanders more than $260 million in taxes each year,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs in the release.
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If a person has an issue or concern with their assessment, they have 45 days to appeal, and instructions can be found on the back of the notice or by visiting dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Assessment-Appeal-Process.aspx.