The Board of County Commissioners in Calvert County recently passed its FY 2017 budget of $246.8 million and includes tax increases to real property tax and local income tax for the first time in many years.
According to a Calvert County press release,
The Calvert County income tax rate will be raised from 2.8 percent to 3 percent. This would mark the first income tax rate increase in 13 years or since Jan. 2004. The new 3 percent rate would place Calvert County near the state average and in line regionally with Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
The property tax increase takes the rate from $.892 to $.952 per one hundred dollars of assessed value. Real property taxes have not been raised in Calvert County since 1987 or 29 years. Under the new rate, Calvert County’s real property taxes would be the 9th lowest among Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.
The new tax rates will generate approximately $8.6 million and close a significant and ongoing financial deficit created after a prolonged national economic downturn. The county prepared for the downturn and continued to budget conservatively by cutting operating budgets for several years, postponing needed purchases and holding the line on hiring new employees through a soft hiring freeze.
The approved FY 2017 budget allows county staff to avoid using the county’s fund balance as the sole method to address the ongoing deficit and allows for increased spending in areas either not funded, or under-funded in recent years. Those areas include road maintenance, school improvements, fire and emergency medical services apparatus and supplies, and county employee salary steps.
“Not one of the county commissioners wanted to raise taxes,” said Calvert County Board President Evan Slaughenhoupt. “We have spent the last year analyzing and examining the operational efficiency of the county’s expenditures and services, and we’ve done so in public forums and via our county website. Based on thorough examination, we understand that in order to maintain our exceptional bond rating, our exceptional level of services and our exceptional workforce, we had no other choice. Today’s vote was necessary for the sustainability of Calvert County Government’s services to the citizens today, and for many many years to come.”
To read more details about the Calvert County budget, please visit the county’s website.