Annapolitans Protest Possible Property Tax Hike
Under the proposed fiscal year 2013 operating budget, the property tax would rise by 10 cents.
Some Annapolitans aren't happy about a proposed property tax increase in the spending plan for fiscal year 2013.
According to the proposed operating budget, the property tax rate would go up to 66 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is a 10 cent increase from fiscal year 2012. Previously, the rate went up by three cents between fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
Bruce Miller, director of the city's finance department, said that a seven cent increase is needed to achieve constant yield. However, because property assessments have gone down by 11.7 percent, the revenue collected will be the same as in 2012.
"The taxpayer should realize that ... every year that that assessment went up, they were paying more taxes," Miller said. "So ... just focusing on the tax rate is a little mis-intended I would say in that the tax payer could be paying more. A constant levy is not changing on the aggregate what people are paying."
Alderman Fred Paone (R-Ward 2), however, questioned the idea that residents should have to pay more taxes as their property assessments went down. Miller called the argument "disingenuous" and stated that because the amount paid is constant, he personally would be happy to just not pay more.
"Mr. Miller, congratulations," Paone said. "Because it's very easy to make you happy apparently."
To round out the remaining three cents, Miller said one cent would go towards sidewalk repairs and the remaining two cents are for other expenses.
Ann Berger, an Annapolis resident, used the analogy that like the government, a small business or individual can not just charge more for a product or service to increase its income.
"The city—like any household—must live within its means," Berger said. "Thus, sometimes you have to say 'no' to more spending."