Personal property tax change weighed Late assessments may be estimated

November 16, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

County Executive Charles I. Ecker hopes to persuade the County Council tonight to allow it to use personal property tax estimates when billing companies with late assessments.

Companies are required to file personal property tax returns by April 15 each year, listing the inventory, furnishings and equipment they owned on Jan. 1.

The state assesses the property and sends the county a copy of its findings -- supposedly by July 1. The county bills the companies in accordance with its property tax rate, which is now $2.59 per $100 of assessed value.

The problem for county finance officials is there's no guarantee that state assessments will be delivered in a timely fashion. The finance department wants permission to send estimated bills Sept. 1 to all companies whose personal property assessments are still outstanding. The estimate would be based on the most recent assessment.

A month's billing delay costs the county more than $27,000 in interest income at current rates, officials say. The county seeks to maximize personal property tax income by investing it. The current investment return is 3 percent.

The estimated personal property tax billing is one of 13 measures the council will consider at tonight's 8 o'clock public hearing in the county office building.

Also on tonight's agenda are:

* Companion bills to close one part of Trotter Road while linking another to River Hill Road by way of Summer Sunrise Drive near Route 32.

* A resolution approving the Board of Education's capital budget for 1994 and its capital improvements program for 1995 to 1999.

* A resolution endorsing acquisition of two group homes for senior citizens.

* A bill authorizing overtime for some county employees not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The council also will conduct confirmation hearings on the appointments of Natalie K. Lobe to the Community Action Council board of directors, Louis Pope to the Consumer Affairs Advisory Board, Shamim Sinnar to the Human Rights Commission, and Donna Wells to the Mental Health Advisory Board.

The council split this month's legislative agenda into two nights of hearings, anticipating a good deal of public comment each night.

The Nov. 23 public hearing will deal with legislation implementing new subdivision regulations, giving tax credits to property owners who rent to religious groups, putting a 5 percent ceiling on property tax assessments, making it illegal to mow county-owned open space, and allowing property belonging to Chapelgate Presbyterian Church to come into the metropolitan water and sewer district.

COUNTY COUNCIL

The council meets at 8 tonight in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building, 3420 Court House Drive, Ellicott City.

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