Sykesville council proposes cut in property tax rate Plan also would cut trash pickups in half

April 02, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Sykesville Town Council introduced a $1.1 million budget last week that proposes a still-to-be-determined reduction in the current property tax rate of 83 cents per $100 of assessed value.

To help bring the property tax rate down -- possibly by as much as 4 cents, town officials say -- Sykesville plans to reduce trash pickups to once a week from twice a week and to increase trash pickup fees for commercial users by as much as 50 percent.

"We will have a tax cut, but the question is how much," said Matthew H. Candland, town manager. "The mayor and Town Council are making tough decisions, and the staff will have to sacrifice so we can lighten the burden on citizens."

The owner of a Sykesville home assessed at $105,000 now pays about $870 in town taxes, in addition to county taxes. Last year, Sykesville lowered its rate by a cent. A tax cut of 4 cents would amount to a savings of about $44 for the average homeowner.

The town provides its 3,000 residents with trash collection and 24-hour police protection, but those services mean that residents pay among the highest tax rates of the county's eight municipalities.

Westminster homeowners also pay 83 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The budget also projects a $14,330 increase in revenue from impact fees, which developers pay for improvements the town makes to accommodate new growth.

With several housing developments nearing completion, more homes are coming onto the tax rolls.

Even at the 79 cent rate, property tax revenues would increase by nearly $35,000 in fiscal 1997, which starts July 1.

Officials expect to further lighten the taxpayers' burden by leaving vacant a position in the the maintenance department and by trimming assorted operational costs in various departments.

The town employs 18, including eight in its police department, five in maintenance and five at the Town House.

"We will streamline operations and run leaner," said Mr. Candland. "We will be keeping most departments at current levels and are confident the staff can do this."

The town hopes a lower rate will attract more businesses.

"Our commercial base is so low," said Mr. Candland. "We have to promote economic development with a sensible, defensible tax rate."

Copies of the budget draft are available at the Town House, 7547 Main Street.

Before voting to adopt the budget, the council will hold a public hearing in May.

Pub Date: 4/02/96

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