Sykesville mayor proposes higher tax

May 10, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Sykesville Mayor Kenneth W. Clark introduced a budget last night that included a 2.4 percent increase in the property tax rate. The new rate translates to a 2-cent increase from last year, when homeowners paid 82 cents per $100 of assessed value.

"This is just a draft and is subject to change," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher as council members perused the nine-page document.

The town is expecting $165,000 from the state income tax, an increase of $7,000, but Mayor Clark cautioned that the projected figure was a "soft number."

"I do not understand why there is not a higher translation from increases in the population," he said. "My guess is that residents are forgetting to check the proper boxes [denoting town residence] on their tax returns and the town is losing."

Mr. Schumacher has asked the state to verify the number of residents. His office has sent an itemized list of residents with street-by-street addresses and requested a cross check.

"This is a two-edged sword which could go against us," Mr. Schumacher said. "They could find we have less residents."

The proposal also includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for town employees and a 1 percent merit evaluation plan.

"The evaluation is to reward people for their performance during the year," Mr. Clark said. "If we want to keep services up, we have to acknowledge employees who do outstanding jobs."

The proposal calls for hiring two new employees about Jan. 1. The public works department would add one employee. The other new hire would be for the Police Department and would bring the total department force to seven officers, including Police Chief Wallace P. Mitchell.

"I have heard most often from people concerned about police protection and trash pickup," the mayor said.

The proposal also allows for a trash tipping fee, paid to the county, of $53 per ton.

"We have heard anywhere from $48 to $53 from the county for tipping fees," Mayor Clark said.

For fiscal 1993, the town paid $70,000 for landfill use. Next year, with the estimated increase in place, Sykesville would pay $83,000.

The council also has set aside about $4,000 to start a curbside recycling program, which could help defray the costs paid to the county.

Before the May 23 public hearing, several council members requested a work session to review the proposal in more detail. Members will meet with municipal department chairmen at 7 p.m. May 19 at the Town House.

Mr. Schumacher said he would have a spread sheet with a history and trend analysis by line item prepared for the workshop.

Barring any objections at the public hearing, members could adopt the budget at the next session.

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