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Tax setoffs down

February 05, 2001

Tax setoffs down



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The city of Hagerstown and the towns in Washington County will receive an average of 9 percent less in tax setoffs this year for several reasons, including less growth in the municipalities, Washington County officials said.

The county last year paid out a total of $1.1 million to Hagerstown and the towns to reimburse them for money spent on police and parks.

The county setoff, also known as a tax rebate, partially reimburses municipalities for police, parks and road services they provide.

This year the amount drops to $1 million. The allocations are based on costs in fiscal year 2000, which ended last July.

The main reason for the decrease is that most growth of taxable income and the tax base occurred outside of the city and towns, county officials said.

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For Boonsboro, the town receiving the largest setoff amount, that means a drop from $61,689 to $56,125.

"We would like to get the same amount as last year if not more," said Boonsboro Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman Jr.

He said, however, the lower amount will not have much impact on the town's budget.

Some years the setoff increases, other years it drops, he said.

The City of Hagerstown will be hit the hardest, with its setoff dropping from $894,294 to $813,646.

City Finance Director Al Martin told the council about the setoff during a budget retreat last week.

Washington County Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian has also said:

-- The patrol operation purchased cruisers in fiscal 1999 but no cruisers were bought last fiscal year, reducing the police setoff amounts for the next year.

-- Park operations decreased by $15,139. Of that, $14,207 was related to an increase in revenue generated by the park system.

-- Property tax and income tax in the city decreased, while both increased in the unincorporated areas of the county.

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