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Leggett Amends Budget, Lowers Proposed Tax Increase

Montgomery County property taxes will more than likely still be going up in 2017, but not as much as initially thought.

Last week, County Executive Ike Leggett amended his 2017 budget to the County Council to reduce his proposed property tax increase by 46 percent following the announcement by Governor Hogan that he will allow to become law a Maryland General Assembly bill that extends the repayment schedule for counties to comply with the US Supreme Court’s Wynne decision.

In March, Leggett proposed a $5.3 billion budget for the year beginning July 1, 2016, that contains a 3.9 cent increase per $100 assessed valuation in the property tax rate over the current year. The budget closes an estimated $178 million gap. That proposed budget increases County spending for Montgomery County Schools by almost $136 million and addresses the loss of County funds impacted by the Wynne case.

Under the original proposed FY17 Recommended Operating Budget, the property tax rate would increase 3.9 cents (1.0264 - .987 = .0394). The average tax bill (for a house assessed at $464,000) increases by about $27 a month or $325 annually (from $3,750 to $4,075). This includes a $692 tax credit for owner-occupied residences.

However, thanks to the legislation, Senate Bill 766, saves Montgomery County $33 million for the upcoming year, reducing the Wynne costs to $17 million. Reducing the property tax increase from 3.9 cents per $100 assessed valuation to 2.1 cents – a 46 percent reduction -- brings the County Executive’s proposed average monthly property tax increase down from $27 to $20.17.

“My initial proposed operating budget includes $50 million to cover Wynne case costs,” said Leggett. “I promised our State Delegation that if they passed legislation that would extend the back payments to the State I would reduce my property tax increase request. They have delivered, I have amended my proposed budget to reflect the savings from that legislation, and I recommend to the Council that reduction. The timing of credits to the affected taxpayers will not be delayed.

“I want to thank the sponsors of the bill, Senators Rich Madaleno and Cheryl Kagan, and all the other members of our State delegation who worked hard to ensure passage of this legislation,” said Leggett.

File photo by Germantown Pulse.