Somerset County Commissioners are considering proposals that would limit assessment increases on properties destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Commissioners are concerned that tax increases from improvements could create financial hardships, especially for lower-income homeowners.
As reported by the Salisbury Daily Times, County Finance Director Gene Adkins recently presented options to Commissioners.
Adkins presented an option that would fix values to reflect assessments as of Jan. 1, 2012, then cap annual value increases at 5 percent, which is half a homestead tax credit in place countywide. The option would be available to all qualified property owners, regardless of income.
Another option would be to limit a tax credit to low-income homeowners as defined by a tax credit aligned with state code, although Adkins told commissioners the option could reduce annual tax revenue by a potential $30,000 per property. For 65 structures, he calculated the loss at $460 each.
Any proposal approved by the County Commissioners would also need approval by the Maryland General Assembly.