Baltimore County Council nixes tax on mobile home residents

Members of the Baltimore County Council voted Monday to abolish a tax of up to $240 per year levied on residents of mobile homes.

Council members voted 5-2 to eliminate the tax, which was instituted in the 1950s as a way to capture revenue from people who moved to the area for short-term work.

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, who has several mobile home communities in her eastside district, argued that the tax has long outlived its intended purpose. Today’s mobile home owners are long-term residents who pay income and other taxes, and they rent land from mobile home park owners who pay property taxes to the county.

“They are fully vested in Baltimore County,” Bevins said of mobile home residents.

Councilman Todd Crandell, a Dundalk Republican, said the county should do away with the tax.

“I do believe this is an unfair double-dip on mobile home owners,” he said.

The county’s tax is set at 7 percent of a mobile home resident’s monthly rent, capped at $20 per month. The tax is collected by mobile home park managers and passed on to the county.

Joining Bevins and Crandell in voting to eliminate the tax were Council Members Wade Kach, Vicki Almond and David Marks.

Voting against the bill were Councilman Tom Quirk and Council Chairman Julian Jones.

“I just think that this is probably not a good time to give a tax break,” said Jones, a Woodstock Democrat.

The measure also was opposed by the administration of Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. Administration officials said it would be unwise to give up the $600,000 the tax brings in each year.

David Gerstmyer, a mobile home resident in Middle River, praised council members for passing the bill.

“This has been a battle that has been going on for a long time,” he said.

pwood@baltsun.com

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