Carroll tax rate would remain unchanged

The Baltimore Sun

The Carroll County commissioners have proposed maintaining the current real property tax rate, which would mean higher bills for property owners because of rising state assessments.

Reducing the rate would offset the effect of the 8.6 percent increase in assessments, according to a public notice the county released, and retaining the current $1.048 per $100 of assessed value would generate more than $13 million in additional revenue, county officials said.

"Property taxes are the major revenue for all county governments," Steve Powell, the commissioners' chief of staff, said during the board's open session yesterday morning.

To fully offset the assessment growth and produce the same amount of property tax revenue as in the previous year - the constant yield rate - the tax rate would have to be cut to $0.965, officials said.

The concept is based on the notion that revenues will remain the same from one year to the next, Ted Zaleski, director of management and budget, told the commissioners yesterday.

"The problem for us is the cost of providing the services and building facilities and maintaining infrastructure doesn't stand still," he said.

Adopting the constant yield tax rate would mean that "the budget that you have been working on would suddenly develop a $13 million hole in it," Zaleski said, referring to the board's proposed spending plan for the 2009 fiscal year.

A public hearing on the proposal was to be held last night during a scheduled budget hearing at Carroll Community College.

Local governments are required to advertise and notify residents of plans to increase the property tax rate.

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