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County expects revenues will go up by $12 million

April 13, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY- Washington County anticipates an increase of more than $12 million in property and local tax revenues in fiscal year 2006, the result of a growing population, a strong local economy and rising property assessments, county officials said Tuesday.

Finance Director Debra Murray said the county expects its total general revenues to be $154.5 million in fiscal year 2006, which begins July 1. That's a $12.4 million increase over the current fiscal year's general revenues of approximately $142.1 million.

The general fund revenues consist mainly of property and local tax revenues, including income tax.

The real estate tax is expected to generate $76.3 million in revenue, up from the $69.16 million it brought in this fiscal year, according to the proposed general fund.

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The tax is charged at a rate of nearly 95 cents per every $100 of assessed value.

Property assessments in the county are anticipated to grow by 35.7 percent over the next three years, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation has said.

Murray said the median home price in the county is about $200,000. That includes new and existing home sales.

The overall property tax category, which includes the real estate tax and various other taxes and credits, is proposed to be $87.1 million for fiscal year 2006.

The county did not release its entire proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2006 Tuesday, and its proposed expenses for the coming fiscal year were not discussed.

The county's local taxes, including the income and recordation taxes, are expected to bring in $65.82 million in the next fiscal year, a $4.9 million increase over the current year's local tax revenue of $60.83 million.

County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop attributed the increase to a healthy Washington County economy.

Murray said she anticipates the county's income tax revenue to be $56.4 million in fiscal year 2006. That's a $3.5 million increase over fiscal year 2005's income tax revenue of $52.9 million.

The recordation tax - which is collected when property sales are recorded - is expected to generate $8 million next fiscal year, up from $6.5 million the current fiscal year.

Murray said the proposed recordation tax revenue is a conservative figure, just in case there's a slow down in property sales.

Shoop, however, said the county doesn't think that will happen.

"We're expecting it to remain strong," he said.

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