Tax Cap To Pare Nearly $300,000 From County Kitty

September 23, 1990|By Carol Bowers | Carol Bowers,Staff writer

Harford could lose a minimum of $276,000 in property tax revenue in the 1993-1994 fiscal year because of a state mandate.

The state law requires counties to cap increases in property tax assessments at 10 percent or less, said James M. Jewell, the county treasurer estimates.

The County Council held a public hearing on a bill Tuesday that would set the cap at 10 percent. A vote on the bill and any amendments is set for Oct. 2. At the public hearing, Council member John Schafer, D-District C, said he would propose an amendment to set the cap at 6 percent.

An assessment, performed every three years, determines how much an owner-occupied house is worth based on market value. In fiscal year 1989-1990, which ended June 30, the county took in about $50.9 million in property taxes based on a tax rate of $2.34 per $100 of assessed value.

Property taxes make up about 40 percent of the total operating budget.

"Not much happens the first year the cap takes effect," Jewell said.

"It's two, three, four, five and six years out that you see the loss grow."

For example, Jewell said, if the assessment on a $100,000 house rose 45 percent, that increase would be phased in over three years. That means the owner would only have to pay 15 percent the first year.

"Under a 10 percent cap, 10 percent could be assessed, but the other 5 percent would not be assessed. That's why the loss grows," said Jewell.

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