xml:space="preserve">

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman plans to ask the County Council for authority to "reallocate" a portion of the county's property recordation tax revenue.

A resolution to authorize the reallocation is set to be introduced to the council at its legislative session Tuesday night, but the administration is being tight-lipped about the exact nature of the change.

Advertisement

On Friday, Cindy Mumby, the administration's chief spokesperson, declined to discuss specifics of the resolution prior to its introduction, saying only that a full presentation would be given to council members Tuesday night.

The tax is collected on deeds of sale or deeds of trust when such transactions are filed at the courthouse. The rate is $6.60 for each $1,000 of consideration. On the purchase of a $300,000 home, which has become the norm in Harford, the tax due would be $1,980.

State law dedicates $4.40 of the Harford recordation tax for paying off bonds used to build public schools or for other school construction related expenses, while $1.10 is dedicated to buying parkland or developing recreation facilities. Those requirements have been in effect since 1959, prior to the county receiving home rule in 1972, and thus both levies are part of the Maryland Annotated Code.

In the early 1980s, the County Council added an additional $1.10 to the tax rate to repay water and sewer bond debt at a time when the water and sewer system was in a big financial hole.

It is not clear what part of the tax Glassman may be attempting to reallocate.

During the 2013-14 fiscal year, the county received $1,767,810 in recordation taxes dedicated to the water and sewer system debt, according to the annual report.

Overall, the county received about $10.6 million from the recordation tax, which is highly sensitive to conditions in the local real estate market, as these taxes are considered part of closing costs on property transactions.

Harford also charges a property transfer tax of 1 percent of the consideration on a deed or deed of trust, or $300 on a $300,000 home. Under county law, half of the transfer tax revenue is allocated to public school construction and half to agricultural preservation.

Glassman has been trying to identify revenue and potential savings in the budget that can be used to fund raises for county and school system employees.

He previously received County Council authorization to offer an early retirement incentive to some of the county's senior employees, a plan geared to trimming the county government's workforce, which numbers about 990 full-time positions.

Although the stated goal of the retirement incentive is to get 100 participants out of some 250 who are eligible, sources close to the administration have said they want to eventually eliminate upward of 300 positions, as many through the incentive and normal attrition as possible.

The administration is also believed to be looking at the potential privatization of some county services, in particular solid waste management and building security, as a means of saving on operational and direct employee costs.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement