New Windsor aims to be open for business Firms will pay no tax, as town seeks to boost economic development

June 13, 1996|By A SUN STAFF WRITER

New Windsor becomes friendlier to business July 1, when the 1997 budget takes effect.

The Town Council adopted a budget last week that maintains its 45-cent tax rate -- the lowest in the county -- and eliminates taxes on local businesses. The town is keeping its property tax rate, based on each $100 of assessed value, but repealing its personal property tax on businesses, which accounted for $2,500, only about 1 percent of its $215,405 budget.

"We are trying to do whatever we can to encourage economic development," said Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "We want business to have no pitfalls created by the town."

With a few potential business properties on the market, the mayor is hoping the new policy will attract shop or restaurant owners.

Jack Coe, owner of a local plumbing business for nearly 40 years, just opened a printing shop in town.

"Every little bit helps as far as taxes go," Coe said. "It seems we are taxed every which way. This will be quite a savings and we can turn those dollars into something else."

In addition to municipal taxes, town property owners pay a $2.62 county property tax, up 27 cents from last year. New Windsor has industrial land available and the new tax climate might spur economic development, Coe said.

"More business would help us a lot," he said. "This shows this town is business friendly."

Jack Lyburn, county director of economic development, said the repeal sends a positive message to business.

"Location is important, but the price of doing business can really make a difference to the small business owner," Lyburn said. "This shows how forward-thinking and business-oriented they are in New Windsor."

Few of Carroll's eight towns assess a personal property tax on businesses, although the revenue can be substantial. In Westminster, business taxes account for $411,250 of a $6.4 million budget. Sykesville collects $21,000 from business owners.

"We have been able to structure revenue sources so that we don't break the backs of businesses," Gullo said.

New Windsor has been able to cut spending by 3 1/2 percent, trimming money from administration and maintenance departments.

Real estate assessments are down slightly, the mayor said, but more houses are being completed. Real estate revenues are projected to increase by $13,000 in fiscal 1997. Three new residential projects will add about 100 homes.

Pub Date: 6/13/96

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