Anne Arundel approves tax cap, term-limit measure ANNE ARUNDEL

November 04, 1992|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

Voter anger and disgust with politics and politicians carried the day in Anne Arundel County, as taxpayers approved limits on the amount of property tax the county can collect and the number of terms County Council members can serve.

With all but two of the county's 117 precincts reporting, the tax cap measure was winning by a better than 2-1 margin. The term limitation was approved by an even greater margin.

"We didn't just squeak through here," said Robert C. Schaeffer, president of the Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association, who has spearheaded the tax cap through two elections. "The size of this thing is a really clear message to the Anne Arundel County politicians."

"We, all taxpayers, have got to watch the political establishment to make sure they don't sabotage this thing," an ebullient Mr. Schaeffer said, "[by] trying to actually carry out some of the stuff that they threatened, like firing police, firing firemen, that sort of thing."

Two separate, but similar, term limitation measures were voted on. Question C, which would retroactively limit council members to two consecutive four-year terms, was winning approval by more than 3-1.

If this measure passes, three Democratic Council members -- Chairman David G. Boschert, Maureen Lamb and Virginia P. Clagett -- would be forced from office at the end of their current terms.

Question B, an alternative submitted by the County Council that mandates members can serve no more than three consecutive terms -- not counting time already served on the council -- was also approved.

If both term-limit measures pass, the one with the highest vote total will take effect. With all but two precincts heard from, Question C had garnered some 18,000 votes more than Question B.

The property tax cap, Question D, will limit the growth in property tax revenue to the local rate of inflation or 4.5 percent, whichever is less. It is less draconian than a tax cap on the 1990 ballot, which excluded new growth from being added to the tax base. That measure, widely expected to pass, was approved by only 45 percent of voters.

The county has projected it will lose $14 million in property tax revenue in the 1994 fiscal year if the tax cap passes. Budget officials forecast that the county will lose another $19.7 million the following year and $22.5 million the year after.

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