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House OKs tax break for Baltimore County landfill neighbors, despite Kamenetz

Tax break for Baltimore County landfill neighbors passes House over opposition from county executive.

A bill that could grant a tax break to neighbors of Baltimore County’s landfill in White Marsh passed the House Tuesday, over opposition from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The measure, approved 130 to 6, would let the county grant a property tax credit to as many as 104 homeowners living near the landfill.

Lawmakers were moved to act by complaints from long-time residents about noise, dust and odors from the 375-acre landfill. Neighbors say they fear impacts will worsen next year, when the county opens a transfer station at the landfill to process trash from Harford County.

Kamenetz opposes what he has called a “tax giveaway,” warning that he wouldn’t be able to pay for upgrades to county schools if it passed. He wrote parents of Dulaney and Pikesville high school students asking them to lobby against the legislation, which irritated some of the lawmakers he was trying to influence.

Under the bill, it would still be up to the County Council to decide whether to grant the tax credits. The break could cost the county $245,500 a year in revenue, according to legislative analysts. But the bill would require the county to offset the lost revenue by raising tipping fees, which totaled $1.5 million last year. The credits would end once the county stops taking Harford’s trash.

“There need to be some adjustments,” said Del. Stephen W. Lafferty, chairman of the county’s House delegation, to “get the county to take some action supportive of the community....I hope it’s a message to the county as well that they really need to look at how facilities are placed.”

A Kamenetz spokesman said he had no comment on the House vote. The Senate passed a nearly identical version of the bill, 43-1, earlier this month.

- Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article. 

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