Howard Co. Council reaches impasse on property tax ceiling

October 08, 1991|By James M. Coram

Howard County residents will have to wait at least two more weeks to find out whether their property tax assessments can grow more than 5 percent this year.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker wants to keep the current 5 percent cap, but County Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, wants a 10 percent ceiling, which he says would bring another $1.2 million to the county coffers without raising the tax rate.

The council could not agree last night on either proposal. Mr. Gray and Paul R. Farragut, D-4th, supported the 10 percent measure and Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, and Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, supported the 5 percent cap.

Darrel E. Drown, R-2nd, was absent. Mr. Drown voted for the 5 percent measure last January and is expected to vote for it again when Mr. Ecker reintroduces the bill at a special legislative session Oct. 21.

Ms. Pendergrass said the 5 percent ceiling will pass when Mr. Ecker reintroduces it "unless someone persuades me to vote against it." She said she voted against the Gray amendment for three reasons: she believes housing values are not increasing, inflation is less than 5 percent, and "people are really suffering right now."

By law, counties must pass assessment legislation by Dec. 31, although there is no penalty for not doing so.

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