The Board of County Commissioners is set to discuss, and likely pass, an amendment to a current tax credit designed to help those keeping the community safe.
The Fallen and Disabled Heroes tax credit, which covers 100 percent of Carroll County property tax burden for those who qualify, will likely be extended after the vote Thursday. Under current law, the spouse of a fallen or disabled hero — defined as a law enforcement officer or rescue worker — had two years to file for the credit, said County Comptroller Rob Burk. If commissioners vote for the change, Burke said that window will be extended to 10 years.
Legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2017 session in Annapolis gave local governments the ability to make these changes.
"The credit doesn't change, but it creates more opportunity," Burk said.
Commissioners are likely to pass the change this week, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said Tuesday in an interview with the Times.
Wantz, who is a member of the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Company, said he pushed hard for this change in Annapolis this past year.
Commissioners had a public hearing on the item in late August, and there were no comments on the matter.
The credit is a way to say thank you to those who have become disabled or to the families of those who have lost their lives protecting and helping those in the community, Wantz said. There are many things today that challenge those in public safety, he added.
These people put their lives on the line every day for the community, Wantz said. And, he added, the pay for these public safety positions isn't always commensurate with the risk involved.
Wantz said the main reason he went to bat for the legislation is because he's seen law enforcement and rescue workers who have become disabled and what it can do to their lives.
"When something of that magnitude happens to you, two years doesn't really give you the time to get your life in order," he said.
At two years, a person who has been permanently disabled is still going through so much, Wantz said, "That's why we wanted to make sure that we gave these folks at least 10 years."
Commissioners are scheduled for a discussion and possible vote on the item at Thursday's open session during the afternoon meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. For a full agenda of the meeting, visit http://carrollcountymd.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.