Property-charge cap in Columbia is law

May 27, 2004

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed a bill into law yesterday that imposes a 10 percent annual cap on increases in Columbia's property charges.

The legislation, which passed the Senate and House unanimously, goes into effect Tuesday and will be reflected in the Columbia Association's annual bills that are mailed in July.

"I'm relieved and pleased," said Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, a Howard County Democrat who drafted the legislation. "It was a lot of work. It was the right thing to do."

The legislation will phase in assessment increases over three years and is retroactive to east Columbia's 33.4 percent increase in home values last year.

In response to the rising property values, the Columbia Association reduced its property assessment by a nickel, to 68 cents per $100 of assessed value on 50 percent of a property's worth.

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