- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Reduced property tax by one cent
By KATIE FITZPATRICK
Staff writerChesapeake Beach approved a $2.41 million general fund budget and decreased the property tax by a penny for fiscal year 2013 during the town’s meeting April 19.
The general fund budget that was initially proposed was for $2.48 million. After the council unanimously voted to reduce the property tax rate by a penny, the general fund budget was reduced to $2.41 million. The council also approved a $17,430 mitigation fund budget.
Town treasurer Leslie Porter said the proposed general fund budget held the fiscal 12 property tax rate of 37 cents per $100 of assessed value. The proposed constant yield rate for fiscal ’13 was 39.96 cents per $100 of assessed value, which did not require a hearing and would keep the tax rate the same, she said.
Council member Bob Carpenter made a motion to amend the proposed budget to reduce the property tax from 37 cents to 36 cents per $100 of assessed value, which he said would result in about a $71,000 loss in revenue.
“We’re being hit on all sides,” Carpenter said. “I think that our citizens deserve a break and this is one way I think that we can give it to them.”
Mayor Bruce Wahl said after reviewing Carpenter’s proposal, he supported the amendment and he believes the town could afford to make the property tax reduction.
While council member Stewart Cumbo supported “returning money to the citizens,” he said the timing of the proposal for a property tax reduction gave him an “uneasy feeling in my stomach.”
Cumbo said some may consider a $71,000 loss in the general fund budget a “drop in the bucket,” but he considers that to be “a pretty good piece of money.”
Cumbo said he is “concerned about the perception” reducing the property tax would give to other municipalities when other federal, state and local municipalities are “tightening their belts as a result of our economic situation.” He said the town has a number of large projects it is currently involved in and is also limited in their means to generate revenue, so imposing a reduction in property taxes did not make sense at this time.
“I think it’s a good thing, I’m just concerned about the timing with this,” he said.
Cumbo said he was also concerned about other council members’ motivation for reducing the property tax rate.
“I’m a little bit concerned about the motivation, being six months out from election, that we’re saying to the community … who’s going to say no when we’re trying to reduce your taxes? I’m trying to be realistic to the community. I’m not sitting here pandering for votes … but I’m trying to look out for all of our interests,” Cumbo said.
Council member Pat Mahoney said he was in support of the reduction and the town could afford to do it.
“I can roll up my sleeves every year … and save $70,000 in niceties in order to throw a penny back your way,” Mahoney said. “… I commend this council for being that prudent with your money and I feel that we can afford to do this and [give] back to our citizens in definitely a time of need.”
The amended property tax rate of 36 cents per $100 of assessed value and the amended budget for $2.41 million was approved unanimously.
Prior to the approval, Porter highlighted several changes of the revenues and expenditures from the fiscal ’12 to fiscal ’13 general fund budget. Overall revenues are projected to increase by 7.7 percent, she said, from $4.31 million to $4.64 million.
Total projected revenues for local sources for fiscal ’13 increased to $3.69 million from $3.55 million in fiscal ’12, a 3.9 percent increase, Porter said. Local sources projected revenues for fiscal ’13 include an increase in admissions and amusement taxes to $635,000 from $600,000 in fiscal ’12; in operating property taxes from $40,000 in fiscal ’12 to $50,000; in Bayfront Park admissions to $40,000 from $30,000 in fiscal ’12; in tower site rental to $82,000 from $73,500 in fiscal ’12; and in cable franchise fees from $28,000 in fiscal ’12 to $50,000. A projected revenue decrease from $45,000 in fiscal ’12 to $40,000 in fiscal ’12 was the zoning permits and site plans.
The projected federal, state and county sources projected budget increased to $956,000 from $763,000 in fiscal ’12, a 3.8 percent increase. Projected federal, state and county sources fiscal ’13 increases include state income taxes from $550,000 in fiscal ’12 to $675,000 and state gas taxes to $58,000 from $15,000 in fiscal ’12. The town added a $125,000 grant for the fiscal ’13 budget, which Porter said is for the renovation of Kellums Field.
Overall projected expenditures decreased from $4.34 million in fiscal ’12 to $4.33 million in fiscal ’13.
Projected general government expenditures increased in fiscal ’13 to $340,000 from $327,000 in fiscal ’12, with salaries increasing to $235,000 from $226,000 in fiscal ’12, FICA increasing to $18,000 from $17,275 in fiscal ’12, medical and life insurance increasing to $39,000 from $37,000 in fiscal and continuing education to $7,500 from $6,000 in fiscal ’12.
The projected contracted services expenditures decreased from $270,000 in fiscal ’12 to $338,000 in fiscal ’13, with legal services decreasing from $60,000 in fiscal ’12 to $45,000 in fiscal ’13, code enforcement services decreasing from $25,000 in fiscal ’12 to $15,000 in fiscal ’13 and Chesapeake Bay critical area program services decreasing from $10,000 in fiscal ’12 to $5,000 in fiscal ’13.
The projected public safety expenditures increased for fiscal ’13 to $790,000 from $782,000 in fiscal ’12, with a decrease in North Beach Volunteer Fire Department from $12,000 in fiscal ’12 to $10,000 in fiscal ’13 and an increase in contracted services resident deputies in fiscal ’13 to $65,000 from $705,000 in fiscal ’12.
Projected public works expenditures for fiscal ’13 are $1.86 million, which is about the same as the fiscal ’12 budget. Projected increases include salaries and wages in fiscal ’13 to $200,000 from $180,000 in fiscal ’12; maintenance and repairs for holiday lights to $65,000 from $60,000 in fiscal ’12; road maintenance and repairs to $20,000 from $10,000 in fiscal ’12; property maintenance from $250,000 in fiscal ’12 to $275,000 in fiscal ’13; sidewalks repair and maintenance in fiscal ’13 to $15,000 from $5,000 in fiscal ’12; and holiday lights to $20,000 in fiscal ’13 from $3,500 in fiscal ’12. Equipment costs are projected to decrease from $126,000 in fiscal ’12 to $76,000 in fiscal ’13 and other capital projects are projected to decrease from $422,000 in fiscal ’12 to $356,000 in fiscal ’13.
The town is projecting a decrease in the debt service from $706,000 in fiscal ’12 to $700,000 in fiscal ’13.
The Town of Chesapeake Beach will hold a public hearing at their next meeting at 7:30 p.m.Thursday, May 17 to discuss the annual budget for the water park fund, utility fund and treatment plant fund for fiscal year 2013.