Property tax payers in Annapolis may see a county tax increase this year twice that of other Anne Arundel residents, a prospect city officials called unfair yesterday.
County Executive John G. Gary is expected to raise the property tax rate 3 cents for county homeowners, increasing the average homeowner's tax bill about $46. He also has proposed reducing the discount given to city residents on their county tax rate, known as the "tax differential," by another 3 cents, according to city officials.
Alderman Carl O. Snowden, chairman of the city finance commit
tee, said the increased county tax rate and the reduction in the differential combine for a 6-cent increase in the rate city residents pay to the county, about $80 on the average tax bill.
"It's not good news for city residents," Mr. Snowden said.
City residents have received the discount, set annually by the County Council, because they pay separate real estate taxes to the city for police, fire and other municipal services provided within city limits but receive other services, such as education, from the county.
Mr. Gary is expected to unveil
Monday a $773 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. As part of that plan, he is expected to propose a countywide tax rate of $2.38 per $100 assessed value, up from $2.35. The tax differential for city residents would fall from $1.12 to $1.09, resulting in a rise in their county tax rate from $1.23 per $100 of assessed value to $1.29.
Meanwhile, Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins has proposed lowering the rate charged by the city from $1.78 per $100 of assessed value to $1.74.
Yesterday, Mr. Snowden and other city officials joined county Finan
cial Officer John R. Hammond in the annual debate over how to set the differential.
The debate has raged since the County Council voted in 1969 not to give city residents a break that year, said Mr. Hammond, himself a former Annapolis alderman.
The discount Mr. Gary is proposing is higher -- as it has been over the past decade -- than the one worked out through a complex formula by county budget officials. The formula divides countywide services, such as schools and the state's attorney, from other noncity services, such as police patrols.
City Administrator Michael Mallinoff said recent increases in school spending and other countywide services have been, "disproportionately, in my opinion, hitting city taxpayers in recent years."
Mr. Snowden formally proposed that the city and county hire an independent auditor to review their financial relationship and settle the disagreement. The council has set aside $30,000 for such an audit this year.
Mr. Hammond said the issue was settled in 1981, the last time the city hired an auditor. "Based on the fact that Peat Marwick and Mitchell have already done that [audit], I think it would be an inappropriate expenditure," Mr. Hammond said.